Member news: Desjardins launches the Innovation Challenge; Health+Promotion

Monday, 02 November 2015

Desjardins, a Canadian ICMIF member, and its partners Hacking Health, IBM Canada, CHU Sainte-Justine and the Public Health Agency of Canada have announced that they are bringing together healthcare and IT professionals for the Health+Promotion Innovation Challenge, which will take place from 6 to 8 November 2015.

The organisers of the Challenge say that prevention is the best way for people to stay healthy, to live better and longer. Desjardins and its partners Hacking Health, IBM Canada and CHU Sainte-Justine have come together to issue a challenge for participants in the Challenge to come up with new ways of preventing illnesses and promoting good health.

The Health+Promotion Innovation Challenge will bring together professionals from the health and IT sectors as well as designers and any citizens committed to their health and who are passionate about helping others.

Working in teams over the course of three days participants will build on their expertise, new digital technologies and their innovative ideas to find modern solutions to some of the most common health problems facing society today.

The format of the Challenge is a “Hackathon”, a collaborative computer programming event attended by developers and designers who want to have fun and learn new skills by rapidly building prototypes of their ideas. A hackathon often begins with project pitches, where individuals make short presentations to describe the idea they would like to work on. Based on these presentations, attendees can choose to join a project which interests them. At the end of the Challenge, everyone gathers to see each team present what they accomplished and each potential health solution will be judged.

The issues the teams will be asked to look at developing solutions for include:

  • A healthy lifestyle
  • Mental health and stress management
  • The more health savvy you are, the easier it is to get or stay healthy
  • Work-life balance
  • Improving communication and cooperation between patients and caregivers

There are prizes for the best teams which are being donated by Desjardins and the partners. All partners have at least one judge on the panel to decide which teams will win one or more of the many prizes.

This "hackathon" is a first for Desjardins, bringing together developers, designers, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health.

Shaun Tarbuck, CEO of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), said: “We applaud Desjardins for this initiative in conjunction with its key partners. It is another great example of how mutuals and cooperatives are proactively addressing the issues such as health facing society today. This is a great way to harness both new technology and people’s passion, expertise and concern to tackle key health concerns.”