Health hack-a-thon in Kitchener to tackle problems faced by aging population

Hacking Health Waterloo hopes a hack-a-thon being held in Kitchener this weekend will help create some solutions to help people as they age.

A hack-a-thon may conjure up images of people around computers working on some kind of problem.

But a new event in Kitchener this weekend is pairing developers with doctors and other healthcare workers to come up with solutions – software, hardware and tools – for aging health problems.

“What we hope to do is just bring people together, lots of brains, lots of challenges and see what solutions we can come up with,” said Sara Bingman, community organizer with Hacking Health Waterloo.

The hack-a-thon’s theme is brain health and aging wellness. It will focus on four main topics: decreasing emergency department visits, falls prevention, aging at home and cognitive fitness.

Hack-a-thon at Kitchener city hall rotunda

By Thursday, 70 people had registered for the hack-a-thon, which is going to be held all weekend at Kitchener city hall.

Those involved include health care professionals, doctors, biomedical students and developers.

“There’s a lot of knowledge going to be in the rotunda this weekend,” Bingman said.

‘We’re all aging. We’re all trying to stay healthy and technology is around us constantly, so why not use it to benefit where we’re going.’– Sara Bingman, Hacking Health Waterloo

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said the city is “thrilled” to be hosting the event.

“Our downtown is home to numerous tech companies and startups that thrive in this collaborative and innovative environment,” Vrbanovic said in a release.

“With two hospitals, Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy and McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine also located in the core, Kitchener city hall is a fitting place to host an event where professionals from the tech and healthcare sectors can work together on solutions to this important health initiative.”

‘We’re all aging’

There is more than $100,000 in prizes, but Bingman said many of those involved just want to come up with solutions to the problems the aging population faces, or will face.

“It’s just a great community and people want to give,” she said.

Bingman said it’s an important issue to cover because it affects everyone.

“It’s a huge population. We’re all aging. We’re all trying to stay healthy and technology is around us constantly, so why not use it to benefit where we’re going,” she said.

[Source:-CBC ]