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Hacking Health Event in Montreal

Last weekend, Alex and I attended Canada's first healthcare-themed hackathon. Hacking Health took place at Thompson House on McGill University's campus and attracted around 200 participants including healthcare professionals and developers.

Hacking Health logo

I was really impressed by the number of individuals from the healthcare sector who attended the event. The ratio seemed to be around 3:1 developers to healthcare professionals. There were also a lot of students from universities around Montreal, and result was a good mix of ideas and the technical know-how to carry them out.

Projects included mobile apps, community websites, Twitter bots, and even a Kinect application. There was a team from open data community that did an accessibility map for Montreal, and another that worked on a website listing with health violations.

Alex and I demoed a project called MediSync, a website for searching health-related publications and research papers. The site aggregates content from health-related RSS feeds and presents the results in an easy-to-use search interface. We used feeds from research institutes, universities, and other healthcare organizations. The site uses Drupal to store the data and Apache Solr to provide the faceted search UI. The front-end is enhanced with two javascript libraries: isotope and infinite scroll.

Our project won the honourable mention for 'Best health education solution'.

Hacking Health Search UI Demo Screenshot

Thanks so much to the organizers of the event! It was definitely insightful for developers and health care professionals alike.

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