Island Health’s hackathon will bring 120 innovative brains together to solve some of the health authority’s biggest challenges. (Photo Courtesy of Island Health)

Island Health Code Hack 2020 pushes for progress

More than 100 ‘hackers’ come together to solve healthcare challenges

They say two heads are better than one, so Island Health is bringing more than 100 together in a quest to tackle some of its biggest challenges.

For the second year in a row, the health authority hosts Code Hack, a 24-hour hackathon bringing innovative, forward thinking minds together in a mission to solve regional healthcare dilemmas. Teams are composed of five or six people from a variety of fields including a healthcare provider, patient, designer, builder and Island health ally.

Hosted by Island Health’s Innovation Lab, the event creates opportunities for thinkers of all kinds to meet in a physical space – using their knowledge and experiences to create tangible solutions.

READ ALSO: Fort Tectoria hosts Victoria’s first ever health hackathon

Angela Wignell, lead of the Innovation Lab and manager of the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, says the diversity in backgrounds is especially powerful.

“What I love about Code Hack [is that] it is the only hackathon that we know of that brings together patients and care providers and designers…most importantly, bringing them together in a physical healthcare space,” she said. “Bringing people into these environments and giving them a chance to play here is really different. And to co-design alongside patients – that’s not something that happens.”

The Island Health Code Hack 2019 winners, team Stay@HomeClub created an app to tackle hospital readmission rates. (Photo Courtesy of Island Health)

With the help of coaches and mentors, teams have 24 hours to create a solution, such as an app, care pathway, signage, website (or anything else) to a designated challenge. At the end, a panel of eight judges decides the winners, and those at the top not only receive cash prizes, but the opportunity to further develop their prototype at the Innovation Lab.

In 2019, the second place winners created a method for simplifying the storage of immunization records for patients, and the competition’s third place winners came up with a solution to keep patients connected with care givers as they visited different areas of the hospital.

READ ALSO: Young girls fight STEM stigma with hackathon

Last year’s winner, Team Stay@HomeClub, created an application to tackle hospital readmission rates. After further developing their prototype, the group went on to win a national competition for additional funding.

Wignell said the event is a practice not only in innovation, but in bridging unnecessary boundaries.

“Because healthcare is public,” she said. “And we are all healthcare.”

Island Health’s Code Hack 2020 runs March 7-8. You can follow along with the event on Twitter or Instagram at @VanIslandHealth.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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