What a weekend. Fuelled by collaboration and caffeine, brilliant minds came together January 21-22 at the Fraser Health Hackathon – a first for a B.C. health authority, held in partnership with Simon Fraser University, the City of Surrey and Innovation Boulevard with support from the Health Tech Innovation Foundation, UrbanLogiq, OpenDataBC and TELUS. More than 80 members of the local technology community gathered along with our own experts to find new solutions to some of health care’s biggest challenges.
After two intense days of planning and development, 16 teams presented their prototype solutions to one of nine challenges. Three teams were awarded prize packages for creating solutions focused on:
The overdose crisis, from Team First Responders.
Clinical decision making to help shift resources from the hospital to community care, from Team Spurious Correlations; and
Personal health records to help keep seniors healthy at home, from Team Care Crew.
SFU computer science student Sean Bergunder was a first-time hackathon participant who helped create an opioid overdose alert system. Data is Bergunder’s passion and because his mother is a nurse, he’s drawn toward health care data in particular.
He found his original idea stymied by the limitations of available data, which was either publicly available or aggregate data that had been de-identified to preserve privacy.
Instead, he joined a group who also wanted to work on the Overdose Analytics challenge, and they came to the conclusion they could crowdsource the data. While their app identifies areas with high overdose rates, it also allows a user to trigger a response from someone in the immediate area of an overdose who can administer Naloxone quickly, increasing the chance of survival.
For their efforts, the team was awarded the TELUS prize package that included cash, a large-screen TV, an opportunity to spend a full day with TELUS’ Chief Dreamer and up to two sessions with TELUS Venture thought leaders to further develop their ideas. “I was shocked and elated when they announced our team won,” Bergunder said.
In addition, all hackathon teams are being considered for an opportunity to collaborate further with Fraser Health and the Innovation Boulevard Health Tech Innovation Foundation. A 16-20 week incubator period will allow teams to engage with clinical and operational leadership to refine a solution before presenting it to Fraser Health’s executive team.