Smartwatch among winners at Hacking Health

Hacking HealthTORONTO – A Smartwatch app designed to help people recover from depression and connect them with their care circle received the Innovative Solution Award from the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) at the wrap-up for the Hacking Health Design Challenge.

“Zuubly” is designed for use following a diagnosis of depression. It sends the users a few questions a day to keep tabs on progress and can message a pre-defined care circle when the user needs support. Zuubly sends cognitive behavioural therapy prompts to help manage negative thoughts. It can also link the user to the local crisis centre and encourage the circle of care to support recovery.

“Zuubly really meets a need in our population, immediately linking those with depression to practical tools and their natural support network, reinforcing that they are not alone,” said OTN CEO Dr. Ed Brown. “It is based on clinical best practices and aligns well with OTN goals; the real-time monitoring and predictive data analysis helps Telemedicine providers triage patients and follow their progress.”

OTN helped kick off the Hacking Health Design Challenge in partnership with Hacking Health March 30 at MaRS, Toronto’s innovation centre, when it hosted OTN Presents: Coding the Future of Healthcare. At the launch, OTN presented more than 75 developers and healthcare professionals with real, front-line health challenges.

The first runner-up was ArtonTheBrain, a brain fitness app developed by Baycrest Health Sciences with the Art Gallery of Ontario. It enables those with cognitive impairment to play games based on skill levels and preferences. The app will be piloted and evaluated for its effect on mood state, reasoning ability, working/associative memory and attention control.

Second runner-up was CareKit Health, by Shift Alerts, an app that lets complex patients monitor their health at home and share the information with family and care providers. Zuubly won $5,000 from OTN, while the runners-up received $2,500 each.

“We’re always looking for innovative solutions that lead the way to the future of healthcare,” said Dr. Brown. “We want to be a conduit for getting those ideas translated into action to meet the needs of the patients and healthcare providers we support. This event brought a large pool of great thinkers to the development process.”

While most hackathons happen over a weekend, this one was unique in that it was an eight-week challenge. The winners of the OTN awards will receive support to further develop and pilot the winning prototypes.

Dr. Brown was on the judging panel with OTN COO Gilad Epstein and representatives from Gevity, Microsoft Canada, Canada Health Infoway and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The final demo and judging took place at the e-Health 2015 conference here.

About OTN
The world leader in telemedicine, OTN helps Ontarians get more out of the health care system by bridging the distance of time and geography to bring more patients the care they need, where and when they need it. Using innovative technology, OTN streamlines the healthcare process, while also expanding the way knowledge is shared and how the medical community interacts with each other and with patients. An independent, not-for-profit organization, OTN is funded by the Government of Ontario and Canada Health Infoway.

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