Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This weekend, in recognition of World Arthritis Day, The Arthritis Society partnered with Hacking Health, our presenting sponsor Eli Lilly Canada, and venue partner MaRS Discovery District to host ArthritisHack, a three-day hackathon to break down barriers to healthcare innovation for over five million Canadians living with arthritis.

People with arthritis face chronic joint pain, stiffness, swelling and persistent fatigue that pose serious challenges to daily life, creating needs that are often unmet by current clinical approaches. ArthritisHack brought together over 100 programmers, designers, policy analysts, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, and people living with arthritis in a multidisciplinary approach to collaborate, dream up and produce new solutions to help address those needs.

Watch: ArthritisHack 2017 

A panel of distinguished judges from across the health care and technology spectrum reviewed 11 proposals, and selected the winning projects based on a variety of factors including innovation, feasibility and potential impact for people with arthritis.

The winning submission, from “Team Kizuna”, takes a uniquely elegant and scalable approach to community building, by connecting people with arthritis who need assistance with volunteers who are interested in providing support.

The top three teams receive a range of awards and prizing worth upwards of $10,000 to jump-start their idea and get it closer to implementation in the real world. They will also have the opportunity to work with The Arthritis Society to explore how to develop their solution for the arthritis community.

Canada is a world leader in research, innovation and science – core competencies that are helping lead to new advances in the management of arthritis and its symptoms. Through initiatives like ArthritisHack, The Arthritis Society is committed to fostering this trend in innovation to help improve the lives of people with arthritis today, and partnering with individuals, groups and organizations who share our goal of creating a future without arthritis. 

QUOTES

  • Janet Yale, president and CEO, The Arthritis Society: “From our work in understanding the disconnect between people with arthritis and their health care providers, it was clear that there were gaps that needed to be filled. ArthritisHack shone a light on those needs and challenged participating teams to help solve them through innovation. We’re delighted with the results: the ideas that have come forward will empower many people to live better despite their arthritis.
  • Lisa Matar, president and general manager, Eli Lilly Canada: Eli Lilly Canada is proud to sponsor this event. Our business is built on innovation, so we’re excited by the creative collaboration at this hackathon which produced several innovative solutions aimed at making life better for people with arthritis.”
  • William Charnetski, chief health innovation strategist, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care: "We want our kids and grandkids to live in an Ontario that invests and wins in the knowledge-based economy. We also need a health care system that is sustainable. For that reason, the work that these innovators are doing is of critical importance."
  • Dawn Richards, vice-president, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance: “The solutions that we’ve seen this weekend will help people like myself with arthritis to manage their arthritis better, deal with many of the little things that people don’t think about, and really empower them to take care of themselves.”
  • Dr. Vandana Ahluwalia (judge), consultant rheumatologist, William Osler Health System: “As a rheumatologist, you only get to see your patients for a limited time. It’s exciting to be able to connect them to resources that help with self-care between appointments. And the data that many of these solutions collect can help greatly with tracking of patient-reported outcomes, integrating with our data registries to better understand and provide more effective care for people with these conditions.”
  • John Lai (participant), Team Kizuna (first place finishers, on why they got involved): “We each have different backgrounds and skillsets that we feel are valuable to society, and we wanted to contribute them here at ArthritisHack.”
  • Tian Xiao (participant), Team Kizuna (first place finishers, on what they got out of the experience): “We have gained a huge sense of accomplishment, we have made a significant impact on our community, and we’ve made some lifelong friends here today.”

About The Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for 70 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without Arthritis, The Arthritis Society is Canada’s principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 5 million Canadians living with Arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non-government funder of Arthritis research in Canada, investing over $195 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with Arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information about The Arthritis Society and to make a donation, visit www.Arthritis.ca

About Eli Lilly Canada

Eli Lilly and Company is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was committed to creating high quality medicines that meet people’s needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and contribute to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

Eli Lilly Canada was established in 1938, the result of a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto which eventually produced the world’s first commercially-available insulin. Lilly Canada now employs more than 600 people across the country, working in the areas of oncology, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and pain. To learn more about Lilly Canada, please visit us at www.lilly.ca.

About The Arthritis Society and Lilly Partnership

Eli Lilly Canada is committed to making life better for people living with arthritis. On World Arthritis Day in 2016, The Arthritis Society and Lilly announced a strategic partnership that focuses on bringing the patient’s voice front and center for arthritis in Canada.

Lilly’s partnership supports a series of patient-centric care initiatives, including a national pain symposium, quality of life research, and ArthritisHack. The initiatives aim to unravel the key concerns of people living with arthritis, and identify novel strategies to address them. Lilly and The Arthritis Society are working together to challenge the way people look at this disease, and create solutions so that people with arthritis can do more than just survive -- they can thrive.

About Hacking Health

Hacking Health is a global movement designed to improve healthcare by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems. See our previous Hacking Health Hackathon success stories.

Hacking Health Toronto is powered by an incredible group of volunteers and sponsors. We'd love to have YOU join us! For volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, please email toronto@hackinghealth.ca.

About World Arthritis Day

Established in 1996, World Arthritis Day (WAD) is a global initiative that brings people together to raise awareness of issues affecting people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). WAD is observed every year on October 12 and is supported by a year-round global campaign.

The aims of WAD are to:

  • raise awareness of RMDs amongst the medical community, people with RMDs and the general public;
  • influence public policy by making decision-makers aware of the burden of RMDs and the steps which can be taken to ease it; and
  • ensure all people with RMDs and their caregivers are aware of the vast support network available to them.

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Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/69ebc662-9557-4cf9-a4a6-9f72153468be

Alicia D'Aguiar
The Arthritis Society 
416-979-7228 ext.3354
adaguiar@arthritis.ca