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About Sickkids
About SickKids

May 13, 2014

Hacking Health for Kids at SickKids a huge success!

250 people design the future of paediatric health at Hacking Health for Kids

Two worlds came together at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning May 2-4 when techies and medical professionals met for the first child-focused Hacking Health event at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Two hundred and fifty creative and passionate individuals piled in to the auditorium for a 48-hour hackathon which paired Toronto designers and developers with nurses,

Hacking Health for Kids
Josie Xu, a medical student from Queens University speaks with a SickKids Children’s Council member about her app, Didi, a communications tool for teens to talk about “embarrassing” topics.

 doctors and medical students from across Ontario’s hospitals and health-care organizations.

A hackathon brings together members of the design and tech worlds to test new and innovative concepts by rapidly building and testing prototypes – with little time or cost involved.

Hacking Health for Kids opened with a two-hour pitch clinic, preparing clinicians and health-care professionals to pitch their ideas in 60 seconds or less to the audience. Afterwards, they lined up outside the auditorium and the audience chose the teams they wanted to collaborate with over the next two days.

Twenty-eight teams of health-care professionals, graphic designers, UX designers and developers tested out their ideas, “hacked” some solutions and prepared for their demo on the Sunday afternoon, when they were judged by a panel including Daniela Crivianu-Gaita, Vice-President and Chief Information officer, and Shiraz Bajwa, Director, Process Improvement and Innovation.

“We weren't really sure what to expect going in,” said Dr. Adam Rapoport, Director, Paediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at SickKids. “Our team had identified a challenge that we all believed could be best solved with the help of a mobile application. We searched for one, but it didn't seem to exist. It was our hope that going to Hacking Health would give us a sense if creating such an app would be feasible.”

Rapoport’s team and his team were successful and took home three awards from the hackathon, including an award for most promising project for health care professionals.  The team’s solution, an app they named KidList, would store all patient and family information, helping the team support the growing number of patients and families for whom they provide 24/7 care.

“After just one weekend, we are nearly 80 per cent done the work,” said Rapoport. “We came out of the weekend with a working prototype that just needs some minor tweaking. Working along with SickKids will allow us complete our project and start using our app!”

A group of 30 children had their own mini-hackathon. Members of SickKids’ Children’s Council participated in a three-hour workshop, learning how to code their own websites about a health topic they selected. SickKids patients also met in Marnie’s Lounge to design and create their own buttons. Both workshops were run by the non-profit organization Ladies Learning Code with the help of SickKids volunteers.

Teams were judged on five criteria: Impact, Innovation, Design, Working Prototype and Usability. The SickKids award for most promising projects for patients and families went to an app called Video Help, a video-based mental health telemedicine app for adolescents in remote communities.

“This event was a perfect example of passion, technology and good old fashioned ‘nose to the grind stone’ methodology,” said David Willis, Clinical Program Manager, Tele-Link Mental Health Program at SickKids. “The intensity of the fixed pitch–work–present format, coupled with an overarching commitment to better the health of children, came together magically and produced amazing apps that have the potential to immediately change the way we deliver, receive and participate in our health care services. What an amazing event it was!”

To read about all of the app ideas from Hacking Health for Kids, please visit: http://hh-kids.sparkboard.com .