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Montreal Hacking Health Café #3
May 2013

Montreal Hacking Health Café #3

This past week was all about healthcare. We attended e-Health 2013 in Ottawa andHacking Health Café #3 in Montreal. The Café served up some very fundamental innovations and we definitely look forward to see more of this kind. Each talk covered clinically validated approaches to extremely impactful issues…

1. Remote psychological and emotional support for cancer patients
Dr. Virginia Lee, N, PhD pointed out that cancer patients are often left alone and in the dark. They don’t receive emotional and psychological guidance and support outside of the hospital, especially compared to that which is given to the parents of a newborn baby. She presented her validated, cancer patient support workbook as an effective alternative to the existing self-help books. And, though related apps may exist for the mobile market, none seem to be based on validated methods – there is a definite need.

2. Kinect-based rehabilitation system
Sonny Sung Jun Bae, Software Director at Jintronix, explained that physiotherapy exercise routines typically have a 60% drop out rate. The Jintronix team was motivated to get patients more dedicated and engaged. The combination of remote monitoring and gaming will certainly take the patients there. And, as the team works closely with both patients and therapists, the system has a solid grounding, benefiting from true patient-centered design. I’m definitely looking forward to the day when my physiotherapy exercises feel more like a fun escape rather than a dreaded chore.

3. HIV self-testing for the developed and the developing world   
Dr. Nitika Pai, MD, MPH, PhD presented the mouth swab -based HIV self-test: a simple, disposable test much like a pregnancy test. It is no surprise that this innovation has been making international headlines. Considering the worldwide stigma associated with going to a clinic for an HIV test, it is an quick, simple, private alternative. By connecting it to a mobile device (smartphone or feature phone), the patient gets access to appropriate services and information.

“According to UNAIDS*, 50 per cent of people living with HIV worldwide are unaware of their HIV status and about 2.5 million people become infected every year.”
HIV Self-testing: the key to control the global epidemic, April 3, 2013.

The potential impacts of these innovations are obviously huge. Thanks again Hacking Health for gathering up these awe-inspiring innovators.

Natalie Jhaveri

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