Hacking Health

Hamilton Health Innovation Week


Hamilton, ON – April 13, 2017 – Hamilton Health Innovation Week (HHIW) 2017 (April 24-30, 2017) is being launched in Hamilton.  The event serves as a showcase for world-class health innovation happening in Hamilton and from across the country. It brings together hundreds of public and private sector practitioners around a common vision: to turn inspiration into innovation that can be used by our healthcare sector to improve patient outcomes.

HHIW 2017 will bring together startups, entrepreneurs, researchers, academics, private and public partners to create new networks, explore new ideas, and raise the profile of cutting-edge innovation. Throughout the week, practitioners will be challenged to confront real-world problems facing the healthcare industry, and work collaboratively to explore and develop real-world solutions using technology, research and innovative insights from a cross-section of disciplines.

WHAT:     Hamilton Health Innovation Week 

WHEN:    April 24-30, 2017
WHERE:  Across Hamilton
WHO:       McMaster University, Mohawk College, IBM, Hamilton Health Sciences, City of Hamilton, Hacking Health Hamilton and MIIRC@M

WHY:       Hamilton is home to a thriving and dynamic life sciences ecosystem. from world class research hospitals to cutting edge digital health IT firms. Together, the Hamilton life sciences cluster employs over 35,000 people, more than 5,000 scientists and researchers, and is investing $450 million in innovative research each year.  In 2016, Hamilton welcomed a major downtown investment from IBM Canada – the Innovation Exchange – and work has begun on the new 40,000 square footFranhofer Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing.


Key Events Include:

  • Apps For Health (Thursday, April 27th)–  Featuring Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Health and Nathalie Le Prohon, VP, Healthcare Industry, for IBM Canada, Apps for Health is one of Ontario’s premier information-sharing, networking and recruiting events for the digital health industries. This interactive, one-day event provides a valuable opportunity for professionals from healthcare, technology, education to come together to discuss current and emerging trends in health, technology, medical education, and entrepreneurship.
  • Hacking Health Hamilton Hackathon (Friday, April 28th– Sunday, April 30th)– Hacking Health is designed to improve healthcare by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems.
  • FHIR North (Wednesday, April 26th)– FHIR implementers will once again come together this April at Mohawk College to develop and test innovative applications using the HL7® FHIR standards framework.
  • #MIIT17 (Friday, April 28th)– Medical Imaging Informatics and Teleradiology (MIIT) focuses on emerging technologies and practices for acquiring, processing, managing, accessing, and sharing medical images, along with topics driving changes in relevant policies within Canada.
  • CCHL Study Tour – Digital Transformation in Health Care (Thursday, April 27th) – The Canadian College of Health Leaders is offering a full-day tour aligned with the Apps for Health conference; gain insights about working on the frontlines of digital transformation in healthcare, including case studies on how Ontario’s second largest hospital network is executing its digital strategy.

For more information, including the schedule of events, visit: http://hamiltonhealthinnovationweek.ca/


Artificial intelligence and hacking healthcare next week

When: Thursday March 16th 2017 from 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, 3rd Floor, Hamilton

Organizer: Hacking Health Hamilton (@HHHamOnt)

Register: meetup.com/Hacking-Health-Hamilton/events/237601788


This month, We are hosting another fantastic MeetUp at CoMotion On King in Hamilton. CoMotion On King is a new coworking initiative and Hamilton’s largest coworking space in the heart of downtown. Now we have a chance to get inside and enjoy their hospitality.

We have two awesome groups presenting this meetup:

Dr. Richard Sztramko practices both Geriatrics and General Internal Medicine at St. Peter’s, Hamilton General, and Juravinski Hospitals.  He received his Bachelor of Health Sciences from McMaster University and Medical Degree from the University of Toronto.  He completed his Internal Medicine and Geriatrics residencies at the University of British Columbia.  For additional training, Dr. Sztramko worked at the Memory and Aging Centre, University of California San Francisco, focusing on Behavioural Neurology.  He has been an Associate Program Director in the Core Medicine training program at UBC with an interest in Resident Wellness.  In his personal life, he enjoys playing and composing music (singer/songwriter genre), running, and dining out.  Dr. Sztramko has founded a startup involving inpatient physician communication and handover called the Virtual Ward, and provided advice on the implementation of telehealth.  He is pursuing a Masters of eHealth at McMaster with a focus on clinician user interface design and analytics.

Dr. Sztrmko will present Virtual Ward – Hacking Physician Handoffs

Omar Boursalie is a Biomedical Engineering PhD student at McMaster University aiming to overcome challenges in healthcare through big data and A.I. technology. His interest in healthcare began the day he was born at McMaster Hospital and with Hamilton being on the cutting edge of engineering and healthcare, there couldn’t have been a more fitting city to be raised in! When he’s not teaching, you can often find Omar biking and sailing!

Omar will present Monitoring Heart Disease with Wearable Sensors and Health Records.

Veronika Litinski is a company builder, health technology innovator, and growth junkie. At present, Veronika is establishing Konona Health, a management company and digital health accelerator focused on Consumer Health. Recently, she joined its first graduate, GeneYouIn, as COO. GeneYouIn is a Personalized Medicine company: www.pillcheck.ca.

Veronika piloted the launch of Cogniciti (www.cogniciti.com), a for-profit arm of Baycrest Hospital, the world’s leading centre for the study of memory and aging. Cogniciti’s mission is to help the millions of adults with significant memory concerns get earlier assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

Before taking on her leadership role with Cogniciti, Veronika led the Health Care and Life Sciences practice at MaRS Discovery District. She joined MaRS as Director of the Venture Group when their doors opened in July 2005. She continues contributing to MaRS as a Volunteer Advisor.

When not pitching Health Tech innovations to insurance companies, or taking long hikes with her dog, son and husband, Veronika can be found on the Lakeshore West GO train, somewhere between Toronto and Hamilton.

Veronika will present on Digital and Health Investment.

Join Us!


Hacking Health meetup this Thursday

When: Thursday February 16th 2017 at 6:30pm

Where: IBM Collaborative Innovation Centre – Healthcare, 1 King Street West (Suite 1400), Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Hacking Health Hamilton (@HHHamOnt)

Register: meetup.com/Hacking-Health-Hamilton/events/237052772


This month, IBM’s Collaborative Innovation Centre – Healthcare, Hamilton is hosting us at their temporary space on the 14th floor of Commerce Place right at the centre of the city. Last year, IBM Canada and Hamilton Health Sciences announced plans to establish a new centre focused on healthcare innovation. The centre will give area healthcare providers, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs advanced technology tools and expertise to improve healthcare outcomes and put Hamilton on the map as a hub for healthcare innovation in Canada.

In short: IBM has come to town. Now we can get an early look at what they are up to!

We have some great speakers to talk about what’s happening:

IBM Collaborative Innovation Centre: Gordon Alexander from IBM will introduce the Collaborative Innovation Centre and explain what they are working to accomplish with healthcare innovation in Hamilton. He will also cover IBM’s current capabilities and directions in healthcare including cognitive systems such as IBM Watson and the formation of a new business division IBM Watson Health. Finally Gordon will also discuss how the are looking to engage Hamilton innovators & entrepreneurs through leveraging the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the IBM Innovation Incubator Project.

Hamilton Early Warning Score (HEWS): Jackie Crews from HHS will review a recent project with IBM to dramatically reduce the number of Code Blue events in the hospital. This is what has been achieved with the electronic Hamilton Early Warning Score (HEWS). HHS has implemented the digital HEWS on its inpatient wards and Emergency Departments and seen significant improvement in critical care response and outcomes. Come and hear how Hamilton Health Sciences and IBM are advancing patient care by turning data into actionable insights, dramatically improving care delivery.

More about our speakers:

Gordon Alexander is the Healthcare Industry Technical Leader for the IBM Collaborative Innovation Centre – Healthcare in Hamilton. He is a Senior IT Architect with 28 years of experience in the IT industry. Gordon has been with IBM Canada for over 18 years, and prior to that, for 10 years with the IT departments of The Co-operators Insurance and Canada Trust Financial Services. As an enterprise architect with a focus on the discipline of integration, Gordon is focused on the end-to-end design of solutions which enable applications, data, networks, and systems to work together. Gordon helps clients understand, assess, and transform their IT environment to leverage new and emerging technologies such as Cloud, Cognitive, Big Data, Analytics, and Mobile to name a few.


Jackie Crews is the Manager, Applications in Health Information Technology Services (HITS). Jackie has worked at Hamilton Health Sciences for more than 20 years. She began her career as an Applications Specialist at the Hamilton General Hospital, then worked in outpatient clinics for a number of years, then moved back to an Applications Specialist role at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener. Today Jackie is Manager of Applications and eHealth Solutions for HITS and is responsible for leading a team of application support analysts, clinical informatics specialists, and web application developers to meet the information systems needs of the organization from a support, integration, and development perspective.


eHealth is a team sport meetup


When: Thursday January 19th 2017 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Where: McMaster Centre for Continuing Education at 1 James St. North, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Hacking Health Hamilton (@HHHamOnt)

Register: meetup.com/Hacking-Health-Hamilton/events/236643144



This month, McMaster’s Master of Science in eHealth program is hosting us at the new McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, right at the corner of King and James. You may have noticed this ultra-modern upgrade to the existing building as you passed by. Now we have a chance to get inside and enjoy their hospitality.

What are they up to at Mac eHealth? You may also have heard about the Mac eHealth program. It’s a unique three-way joint venture of the business school and the faculties of health science and engineering, aiming to bring Master students up to speed on health, information and management sciences. The interdisciplinary program brings together programmers, front-line staff, admin, and clinicians.

We have two awesome groups presenting this month!

MyHealth PHRI: Dr. Cynthia Lokker from eHealth and Dr. Itzhak Gabizon from PHRI are developing a research app to evaluate the effectiveness of mobile health apps. They are drawing on rigorous research methods to evaluate which health apps actually work — something that is desperately needed in a field with hundreds of thousands of poorly vetted apps out there.

Virtual Ward: Dr. Richard Sztramko will present the virtual ward he’s developed to facilitate communication among clinicians during patient handovers within a hospital ward.


Interested in collaborating with Mac researchers and students? Learn how you can take advantage of opportunities to work with the Mac eHealth program and others!


Hacking Health Hamilton meetup at MEDIC



When: Wednesday October 26th 2016 at 6:30pm

Where: Mohawk College at 135 Fennell Avenue West, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Hacking Health Hamilton

Register: meetup.com/Hacking-Health-Hamilton/events/234807072


Our first meetup of the fall season will be Wednesday, Oct 26, hosted by the new Technology Access Centre in Digital Health at MEDIC, Mohawk College!

Mohawk just received a $1.75 million investment from the Government of Canada to create a Technology Access Centre.

Set to open in January 2017, Mohawk’s Technology Access Centre in Digital Health will draw on the expertise of more than 30 faculty, staff and students working in the college’s award-winning mHealth and eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC). The team will work with small and medium-size companies to design, build, test and implement digital health technologies and also deliver customized training.

Want to know what Mohawk has done and will do to earn this incredible grant? Come to the meetup!

More details TBA.


Hacking Health prizes and judges announced



When: Friday February 26th – Sunday February 28th

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Road South

Register: hhhamont.eventbrite.ca

Organizer: @HHHamOnt

If you haven’t bought a ticket yet to join the 100 or attendees at this weekend’s Hacking Health event it’s not too late! Hacking Health will bring together developers, healthcare professionals, designers, entrepreneurs, students, patients and everyone interested in healthcare technology to work on solutions to healthcare problems over the course of a weekend!

Attendees will pitch ideas and form teams on Friday night (you don’t have to pitch an idea to participate, you can just join a team with an idea you like), get expert advice throughout the weekend, fuel up on the breakfast, lunch and dinner Hacking Health will provide, and present your finished product to our judges for a chance at winning several fantastic prizes!

The prizes have now been announced:

  • Hosting at The Forge incubator for up to 3 winners worth $1,800.00
  • Technical and business advisory services from Mohawk MEDIC program worth $2,500.00
  • Place on a panel at the Apps4Health conference worth $500.00
  • Up to 15 free tickets to Apps4Health conference, worth $1,275
  • Incubation, resources, programming and marketing/communications from Cossette Health worth up to $20,000.00

And the judges for Hacking Health have been announced as well!

Leo Godreault is co-founder of CareKit Health, a startup recently acquired by Moseda Technology for $2 million in shares. CareKit is homegrown with its offices in The Forge incubator. Leo is an award-winning Registered Nurse and has worked at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton with a degree from McMaster University.

Andrew Sartori is a serial healthcare entrepreneur and winner of the 2014 MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hackfest. He’s had his companies incubated at HealthBox accelerator in Boston, and he’s now with our title sponsor Cossette Health, driving forward their incubation program.

Meredith Lou-Hing is an instructor of radiation therapy an Mohawk College.

Tammy Hwang is involved with almost every entrepreneurship program in Hamilton. She is Cofounder and President of CoMotion on King, Hamilton’s coolest co-working space; a business development officer with Global Hamilton, Cofounder of Strive consulting, and in the past she was a senior manager at Innovation Factory, involved with The Forge, organizer of multiple Startup Weekends. If you’re starting up in Hamilton, you either know or ought to know Tammy.


Hacking Health Challenges Announced



The Hacking Health hackathon to build health technology will be taking place on Friday February 26th – Sunday February 28th at McMaster Innovation Park!

The event will bring together software developers, healthcare professionals, designers, business/entrepreneurs, patients, students, and more, to work on solutions to health care technologies over a weekend. Participants will pitch ideas, form teams, get advice from experts, and build a health app in one weekend. Participants will present their finished product in front of a panel of judges for a chance of winning some fantastic prizes!

You can sign-up for tickets today! Early bird ticket sales end Sunday February 14th at 11:30pm!



One of the best things about building health technology in Hamilton is that we have such an amazing, world-class base of knowledge and expertise to draw from all the health organizations in the area.

In addition to building an application related to something you or someone else has pitched at the beginning of the hackathon, participants at Hacking Health will have the option to work on one of the following specific challenges being posed by a local organization.

The great thing about working on one of these ideas is that, 1) it’s a known, real-world problem, and 2) you’ll have support at the hackathon from experts affiliated with these organizations. It’s an amazing opportunity that’s worth the price of admission alone!


PHRI: Evaluating Digital Cure


Health apps are like the wild west, with digital snake oil mixed in with gold-standard health apps and it’s hard to consumers to tell the difference. Population Health Research Institute knows the how to tell the difference from a research point of view, having conducted studies with more than 1,000,000 participants worldwide, more than 1,500 hospitals or clinical locations in 86 countries on every inhabited continent in the world.

Challenge: Now is your opportunity to build an app that will use Apple’s ResearchKit to find out which apps give effective outcomes.



PHAC: Step Up 4 Health


Do you need to get some exercise? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Given that Public Health Agency of Canada’s goal is protects us from disease and injuries and infectious disease outbreaks – the obesity epidemic is a very real threat to our health. PHAC wants an app that they can use with their own staff and distribute to employers across the country.

Challenge: Building on the principles of the nudge and gamification theories, the “Step Up 4 Health” app will incorporate measurement tools to track stair use and have individual and group challenges as well as prompts, incentives, and a leaderboard.



McMaster IIDR: Distributed Big Data for Drug Resistance


Bacteria are evolving the capacity to resist drugs faster than we can discover new drugs. Drug resistance death rates are rapidly increasing. Andrew McArthur’s lab fights resistance using Big Data and cloud computing. In his talk in January, Andrew identified a Big Data hack that he believes can make a difference in detecting and understanding the genomes of drug-resistant bacteria so that we can identify them faster and recommend tailored treatments that will maximize success and minimize the spread of resistance genes.

Challenge: The challenge is to create a peer-to-peer system that allows different research sites to upload and share SNP data from potentially drug-resistant pathogens.

A lab in Hamilton can sequence the genome of a pathogen to look for drug resistance genes, but in order to track it, they need to compare its SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) with other labs in Canada and around the world. We know from SARS and current worries about C. difficile that we need to quickly find out if an outbreak is local or a serious national problem. This hack will allow centres from all over to easily compare and track outbreaks.

For background, check out this 10-minute video of Andrew McArthur talking about his lab’s work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fEIaUeUEb4 and http://mcarthurbioinformatics.ca/

The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) at McMaster University is a world-leading centre of transdisciplinary infectious disease research. http://mcmasteriidr.ca


Hacking Health Hackathon in February



When: Friday February 26th- Sunday February 28th 2016

Where: McMaster Innovation Park – 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontaro

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/hacking-health-hamilton-hackathon-tickets-20151947016

Organizer: @HHHamOnt


Pitch your innovative ideas, form teams, get advice from mentors, and create a health app in one weekend at the McMaster Innovation Park.

Hacking Health is designed to improve healthcare by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems. Our hackathons are fun, intense, hands-on events where small teams tackle tough problems in a supportive community of peers and mentors. Thank you for your participation, and we are excited to see you all out there!

For more information, our website is http://hackinghealth.ca/city/hamilton-canada and our Meetup group for our Café series is http://www.meetup.com/Hacking-Health-Hamilton.

Event Schedule

Day 1 – Friday
5:00pm: Registration & Pitch Clinic
6:00pm: Networking Reception, catering by Cocoa Food Inc
7:00pm: Program Begins
7:30pm: Pitches
8:30pm: Team Formation, Networking
10:30pm: Venue Close

Day 2 – Saturday
8:00am-9:00am: Breakfast
9:00am: Team Building Activity
9:30am: HACK!
12:00pm-2pm: Lunch
1:00pm: HACK!
5:00pm-7:00pm: Dinner
6:00pm: HACK!
10:30pm: Venue Close

Day 3 – Sunday
8:00am-10:00am: Breakfast
9:00am: HACK!
12:00pm-2:00pm: Lunch
2:00pm: Demos Program Begins
3:30pm: Judges Deliberate
4:00pm: Winners Announced!