Hi5 Health informatics challenge

Hi5 Challenge logo.

The submissions for the Hi5 Challenge 2020 edition are now closed. Stay tuned for future updates!

Are you in grade 10, 11 or 12?

Are you fascinated by technology or interested in computers?

Not tech savvy but passionate about health or considering a career in health care?

The Hi5 (Health Informatics) Challenge is a freestyle competition where you develop creative solutions to tackle current health issues through the use of information technology.

Join us for a chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card AND to improve your resume at the same time! Read below for more on information technology and health informatics.

What is information technology and how is it used for health?

Information technology is any technology used for storing, retrieving, processing and/or sending information. It can be used in many fields, including health and health care.

For example:

  • A Fitbit is information technology because it receives your health information, stores your activities, and informs you of actions to take on your selected schedule.
  • Doing an internet search for information about your health or health issues is also an example of information technology.

When information technology is used in health care, it is referred to as health informatics. As defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, health informatics is the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption, and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management, and planning.

Your challenge!

According to researchers, global response to the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic constitutes a ‘moderate to serious hysteria’ (Whiteside, 2020). With widespread fear and anxiety in the population, there have been reported cases of racism, xenophobia, and aggressive behaviour. Extreme stockpiling of food and medical resources is not uncommon, and misleading or fake information can worsen the situation.

Given this scenario, your challenge is to describe - in a format of your choosing - how you would use information technology to tackle and improve the psychological distress associated with pandemics, such as the recent corona virus. In this competition we are looking for ideas, not full prototypes, although we love to see your ideas presented in creative ways.

This competition is FREESTYLE: You may submit your idea in any format that you think is effective, as long as the submission can be submitted via email. We want to see the most creative, yet feasible idea to address the problem.

Suggestions for submissions include (but are not limited to):

  • A short video - three minutes max
  • Sketching a prototype of an application - e.g., using phone apps such as “Pop"
  • A short essay – 1200 words max
  • Designing a game

To be eligible, your idea must:

  • aim to solve the target issue
  • be received on or before the deadline
  • involve the use of information technology in your solution

What could you win?

2020 prizes include:

  • $200 CAD gift card for 1st place
  • $50 CAD gift card for 2nd and 3rd place
  • Official plaque from the University of Waterloo
  • Hi5 Challenge Alumni Certificate
  • (Virtually) meet and present your ideas to Waterloo's entrepreneurs in health tech
  • Networking with University of Waterloo professors and graduate students working in health and health informatics

Awards will be given for the top three ideas that are:

  • creative
  • feasible (how easily the solution could be implemented)
  • cost-effective


  • Participants can participate in the competition individually or in a group (only one prize per individual/group).
  • Participants must be a Grade 10, 11 or 12 student attending a high school in Canada.
  • Participants must submit their proposed solution on or before the deadline.

Submission instructions

The submissions for the Hi5 Challenge 2020 edition are now closed. Stay tuned for future updates!

You may submit your idea in any format that you think is effective, as long as the submission can be submitted via email. If you are submitting a PowerPoint, please include a maximum of 15 slides.

Top five submissions will participate in a voting with the University of Waterloo Health Informatics class, and present their ideas to Waterloo’s health tech entrepreneurs at an online ceremony in the Winter term. The three submissions with more votes at the end of the awards ceremony will be the winners.

Useful information

Covid-19 Watch: The Numbers Climb to a Mixed Response

How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?

Here’s why people are panic buying and stockpiling toilet paper to cope with coronavirus fears

The psychology behind why toilet paper, of all things, is the latest coronavirus panic buy

The facts on coronavirus aren't all scary. So why so much fear?

Speaking of Psychology: Coronavirus Anxiety

Why outbreaks like coronavirus drive xenophobia and racism — and what we can do about it

As Coronavirus Spreads, So Does Xenophobia and Anti-Asian Racism


If you have questions or require further information about the Hi5 Challenge, email hi5.challenge@uwaterloo.ca.

The Hi5 Challenge is presented by the University of Waterloo's School of Public Health Sciences, offering undergraduate programs and graduate studies in the field of health and health informatics.


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On November 15, 2019, winners of the Hi5 Challenge were invited to the University of Waterloo to receive their prizes and network with industry mentors, and professors and graduate students from the School of Public Health and Health Systems.