One of the most fascinating and exciting things coming out of this year’s e-Health conference in Toronto was the outcome of Hacking Health: an eight-week design challenge that culminated in a showcase and awards presentation at the conference, which ran from May 31 – June 2. The result of a partnership between the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), Canada’s Health Informatics Association (COACH), Canada Health Infoway (CHI), and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the Hacking Health Design Challenge truly yielded some amazing ideas and innovations.
A big theme at e-Health this year was preventative healthcare, and helping people manage their own health to achieve better outcomes – you’ll see below that this theme is reflected in most of the Hacking Health Design Challenge winning ideas. These innovations truly make you think about how we can empower ourselves to better understand our own health and how we can be more proactive so that we can, ultimately eliminate unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office or hospital and reduce the strain on our healthcare system.
With big congratulations to all of the participants of this year’s Hacking Health Design Challenge, here’s a round-up of the winning innovations:
- ArtOnTheBrain (Winner: Gevity Innovation Award; OTN Most Innovative Solution Runner-Up #1): An arts-driven mobile health solution for older adults with cognitive impairment that uses visual art as a platform to deliver a mentally and socially engaging user-driven experience.
- Rehab+ (Winner: Digital Health Innovation Award): A service developed by McMaster’s School of Rehabilitation Science that incorporates a sophisticated email alert system and searchable database of best evidence from healthcare resources that are of particular interest to rehabilitation professionals.
- Trigger (Winner: Health System Management Award): Created by a team at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, Trigger is a prosthetic memory app that enables individuals suffering from a stroke, brain tumour or other neurodegenerative disease to relive the past by experiencing memories in context.
- CareKit Health (Winner: Microsoft Digital Health Award; Most Innovative Solution Runner-Up Award #2): Developed by a team including OTN, Canada Health Informatics Association, Canada Health Infoway and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, CareKit Health turns any room in your home into a smart care monitoring and management system using Estimote beacons and wearable technologies, which interface with Apple’s HealthKit. The app uses contextual location-based reminders and biometric tracking to comply with prescribed therapies for users, and help guide them through lifestyle changes.
- Zuubly (Winner: COACH Health Informatics Innovation Award; OTN Most Innovative Solution Award Winner): A smartwatch app that helps people recover from depression and connects them with their care circle, while reducing the burden on their Telemedicine care provider.
- LifeNode (Winner: People’s Choice Award): An advanced messaging system and analysis platform developed by Disrupt.TO that can quickly track electronic communication to determine sentiment and patient risk – ultimately, it’s designed to help prevent suicides by analyzing behavior patterns through SMS-to-web browser communication.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention at least a few of the additional healthcare innovations that were talked about at e-Health, many of which were outside of our own borders. Here are just a few other ideas that are worth highlighting:
- MoodMetric Ring (Finland) – This invention puts the idea of a “mood ring” to smart use, helping you develop and gain emotional strength and learn how to manage your mood.
- My Smart Eye (Singapore) – Imagine if you could take just seconds out of your day to help someone who is visually impaired to understand what’s around them, from anywhere in the world. My Smart Eye uses crowdsourcing to do exactly that, allowing for “micro-volunteers” to sign up and help others through a mobile app.
- Cardiio (U.S.) – Powered by the MIT Media Lab, Cardiio allows you to scan your heartrate using your phone, just by looking into the camera. Quick and easy, with no need for clunky equipment.
- LEAGUE (Canada) – An online community and mobile app that connects health professionals with potential clients, and gives users a secure place to keep a record of their health care and wearables data, as well as pay for services quickly and conveniently.
At TELUS Health, we love to hear stories like these – stories about ideas (so many of which were grown right here at home!) that shake things up, that are designed to make things better, and that ultimately help us to re-think existing conventions and silos of communication. We were certainly inspired, and we hope you are, too.
Which of these ideas fascinates you the most? Tell us what you think!