Hacking Health (@hackinghealthca) started off last year in Montreal in an effort to connect developers and designers with healthcare professionals at a hackathon event in order to reduce the risk for healthcare innovations to develop solutions to healthcare problems. If that sounds a bit familiar, it’s probably because we have an event in Hamilton called AppsForHealth (@AppsForHealth) that recognized the same opportunity to connect developers, designers and healthcare professionals! The Hacking Health hackathon that took place in Montreal was so successful that cities like Toronto and Vancouver have now held Hacking Health events, and Hacking Health Cafe events have started up in cities all over to connect local healthtech communities:
Cafes are informal meetups to discuss and debate digital health in your city. Hacking Health CafÃ©s are where people and ideas mingle.
Cafes were started by a local team in Montreal who wanted a space where people could easily and frequently discover ideas and people in digital health. The first few cafes in Montreal and Toronto filled up within hours of announcing the event so we realized there was a strong demand for a means to connect innovators interested in healthcare.
Cafes are an easy way for organizers and participants to foster a dynamic community. Cafes increase the surface area and diffusion of that reaction between different disciplines, which is the core mission at Hacking Health. If there isn’t one in your area, become a leader and let us help you organize one.
If you are looking to see what is happening locally or want to meet the talent you’re missing to make your vision a reality, find a Hacking Health Cafe near you.
The first ever Hamilton Hacking Health Cafe took place last night at McMaster Innovation Park. The event was sponsored by Innovation Factory,Â Hamilton Economic DevelopmentÂ and theÂ McMaster eHealthÂ graduate program, and the speakers at the event were Dr. Michael Pray (@drmpray) and Duane Bender (@duane_bender).
Dr. Pray is a family doctor, electronic medical record user since 1998, associate lead physician for IT at the Hamilton Family Health Team, and Peer to Peer Leader for Ontario MD. Dr. Pray talked about his role as a family doctor and gave an outline of who’s who in the local system. He presented a brief outline of an example with a clinical problem (telederm referrals), the way thing are set up now, and an example of how new technologies (i.e. smartphones) can make this process easier.
Duane Bender is currently a faculty member and the Principal Investigator for the MEDIC Centre and Applied Research program at Mohawk College which focuses on the application of information and communications technologies to healthcare (“eHealth” and “mhealth”). MEDIC is a centre of excellence in the promotion, use, and testing of international healthcare information standards to achieve healthcare system interoperability as well as incorporating the use of mobile technology into healthcare.
The event was yet another success for the local community! There were about 50-60 attendees total, with a healthy mix of healthcare professionals and software developers. People stayed long after the talks were over to get to know one another. I know at least one healthcare professional with an idea was able to connect with a few developers that night that may be able to help them build the solution.
The best part from my perspective was hearing that Hacking Health is going to keep doing events in Hamilton. Another Hacking Health Cafe is being planned for January 2014, and a full blown Hacking Health Hackathon is being planned for May 2014. You can join their mailing list to be notified when these events are announced.
And that’s not all for upcoming healthtech events. MacGDA (@MacGDA1) is hosting a talk on The Gamification of Medicine & Education – Insights into Psychology on Tuesday November 5th. The AppsForHealth conference that has been hosted at Mohawk College for the last 3 years will also be back for a 4th edition in 2014.
Events that more regularly bringing together and catalyse the local healthtech community are a great sign of things to come for an area long-suspected to be a potential strength for Hamilton. Also, a big hats off to David Kemper (@dkemper) and Erin O’Neil (@erinlauraoneil) for stepping up and organizing this event for the community (Erin’s also the chapter lead for Ladies Learning Code in Hamilton too).
Check out some more pictures from Hamilton’s first ever Hacking Health Cafe: