Feature Story Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Can You Hack It?
Programmers sprint in Fraser Health Hackathon to create ways to improve medical system
Jacqueline Blackwell, Fraser Health Authority
Programmers will be kicking it January 21-22 2017.
n a health authority first in BC, Fraser Health is inviting developers to turn its data into impactful solutions for some of health care’s most pressing issues. Taking place January 21st and 22nd, Fraser Health Hackathon will see local developers compete against each other to find technology-driven solutions to challenges facing the Fraser Health region.
This marks the first time a BC health authority has hosted a hackathon and will provide developers with access to publicly-available data as well as additional aggregate data that has been carefully de-identified to safeguard against privacy concerns. Fraser Health is sharing this data in the name of improving health care.
"We place a high priority on collecting and analyzing data to better inform the care we provide to our patients, but we know there is more work that can be done to apply this information in ways that can create meaningful change," said Fraser Health president and CEO Michael Marchbank. "By introducing people who don’t have health backgrounds to our data, hackathon participants can show us where new opportunities lie to improve the work we do."
Registration will be capped at 80 participants, who will tackle one of nine challenges based on themes including:
As the health care system grapples with serving a growing and aging population, technological innovations offer the possibility of delivering better health outcomes in cost-effective and efficient ways. Recent examples include a data mining effort that discovered lung cancer treatment properties in an already-approved anti-depressant, apps to help refugees navigate government services, and the application of data to better understand and combat the spread of Ebola.
The Fraser Health event will be hosted at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus in partnership with SFU, the City of Surrey and Innovation Boulevard. Participants of all ages and abilities, from established professionals to post-secondary students, are encouraged to register at HealthHackathon.ca. At the conclusion of the two days, all entries will be evaluated by a judging panel including representatives from Fraser Health, Innovation Boulevard and CommunityLogiq.
“Surrey is emerging as a cutting edge technology hub for a number of growing sectors including health, and this hackathon furthers our leadership. I am proud to see the collaboration between students, entrepreneurs and Innovation Boulevard, and am excited for Surrey to continue to play a leading role in health innovation," said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner.
While Fraser Health Hackathon marks a first for a British Columbia health authority, hackathons that target health care innovations have gained traction around the world in recent years. Hackathons have the potential to create a virtuous cycle of innovation, as cross-pollination of ideas from the development community blends with the methodology of health care.
“Fraser Health Hackathon brings together the software development community and health care leaders to create innovative solutions for issues facing our health care system,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. "As Canada's engaged university, we're proud to host this landmark event at our Surrey campus."
For more information, registrationn including the challenges that will be presented at Fraser Health Hackathon, please visit the hackathon website. Additional information about the hackathon, including specific timing and the weekend agenda, will be provided closer to the event date.
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