Hacking Health discussion helps launch ideas to improve healthcare

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Windsor Star/Dylan Kristy

Windsor can become a springboard for Canadian entrepreneurs looking to take their health care startups from ideation to commercialization, says a local tech accelerator.

WEtech Alliance hosted a Hacking Health panel discussion at the Windsor Star News Café on Thursday, where industry experts offered advice on how to get their e-health ideas built, commercialized and into the health-care system.

“Windsor can play an important role in helping Canadian companies launch in the United States,” said Irek Kusmierczyk, director of partnerships at WEtech Alliance.

“We’re trying to build a regional cluster and you do that by establishing these partnerships.”

Thursday’s panel was made-up by three industry experts: Vincent Finn, Trade Commissioner at Consulate of Canada, Dr. Zayna Khayat, health lead and director of MaRS EXCITE and Al Carpinelli, account executive at Logic Solutions Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich. All three have helped launch health tech startups in Canada or the United States.

Windsor pharmacist Victor Boran was one of about two dozen people who attended Thursday’s discussion.

Boran said he has an idea to create electronic medical record software for pharmacists which would eliminate the need for paper.

“One of the biggest problems in health care is that the cuts keep coming,” Boran said.

“Businesses need to respond so they maintain their profitability and also maintain their ability to do good work. That’s where innovation comes in.”

The panel discussion followed a cross-border hackathon in May hosted in Detroit that saw doctors, nurses, developers and students team-up to create a project to improve health care. Next year’s event will be held in Windsor.

“The problem we had in May was that there were more ideas than time or people,” said Phillip Olla, an adviser with WEtech Alliance and moderator of Thursday’s panel discussion.

“We want to keep the momentum and keep people interested in developing ideas in this industry.”

In an industry that regularly faces cuts and hurdles, Olla said Hacking Health provides a unique opportunity for health-care innovation.

For more information about Hacking Health visit www.hackinghealth.ca.