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Boston Children’s Hacking Pediatrics Hackathon Winners-RightByte takes first!

Whole Picture Conference Room

Today was an exciting culmination of months of hard work for the Hacking Pediatrics and MIT Hacking Medicine.  Over the course of a weekend, physicians, nurses, clinicians, dietitians, entrepreneurs, business people, engineers, and coders were all thrown together to make pediatric medicine better.  It was exciting and exhausting.  But creative and effective solutions were born.

Naomi Fried Inspiration

Naomi Fried, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, described some exciting new projects that Children’s will be rolling out in the next few months.  One is a mobile application for resident physicians to manage the tasks in their day.  This sounds simple, but is fantastic.  Currently, the standard for managing tasks is finding a piece of printer paper, folding it in half, writing the date at the top, writing the list of patients, and then drawing squares in front of your tasks.  You cross through half a square if you finished half the task.  You mark out the whole square if the task is completed.  This is so ingrained in physician psyche that I had an attending sit me down and explain this process once.

The other innovation is a mobile and web application that allows families to track all the doctors, nurses, and other caregivers (with pictures!) that are taking care of their child.  This is huge for communication and doesn’t currently exist.

Most importantly, Dr. Fried pointed out that innovation is about risks–the willingness to take them with the support staff to listen and help implement change.

    Fried and Take Risks

How is Boston different from other cities in terms of hacking medicine?  We all know that Boston is dominated by world class academic institutions with National Institute of Health funding and breakthrough research not going on anywhere else.  The question we have to ask ourselves is this–Because these institutions have always been the leaders in their field, how receptive are they with small outside groups piloting their products in a world-class hospital that is world-class for a reason.   What happened to RockHealth after its first class of seven startups graduated on August 27, 2012?

And for this reason, perhaps the answer to healthcare innovation in Boston is that it has to start within the Boston institutions.  MedTech Boston is excited about the Brigham and Women’s iHub.  And we are even more excited about the quality of ideas at Hacking Pediatrics.  Boston Children’s and all of Boston are creating a fertile ecosystem for innovation and change.

The winners of Hacking Pediatrics will receive mentorship with leaders, including Dan Nigrin, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer, Marvin Harper, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, Naomi Fried, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer, Eric Halvorsen, PhD, Executive Director of Technology and Innovation Development Office, Laura Wood, DNP, MS, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, and the team of Hacking Pediatrics and MIT Hacking Medicine.  First place will also take home $3,000, 2nd place will take home $2,000, and third place will take home $1,000.   Dr. Michael Docktor the Physician Innovator Extraordinaire was the emcee for the event–with all of his regular modesty and enthusiasm that put everyone at ease.  The winners of Hacking Pediatrics are as follows:

  1. 1st place- RightByte!
  2. 2nd place- Emo Band
  3. 3rd place- VP Shunt

First place was RightByte.  This team was led by Elizabeth Hait, MD, MPH and Tara McCarthy, MS, RD, LDN.  Dr. Elizabeth Hait is an Attending Physician and Instructor of Pediatrics in the Gastroenterology Nutrition at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Tara McCarthy is a Clinical Nutrition Specialist also in the Gastroenterology Nutrition department at Boston Children’s Hospital.  They propose creating an easily searchable aggregation of recipes that are appropriate for particular food allergies and intolerances.  Not only did Team RightByte win the grand prize, but they also won fan favorite, a testament that this is a validated choic.

RightByte Gp Picture

Second place was Emo Band.  This team proposes using innovative technology that can be worn on the wrist and can measure a variety of vital signs (temperature, heart rate, etc) to measure emotional state.  This would be very useful to clinicians and parents who are trying to understand very young infants who cannot express their emotions yet.


Third place was VPShunt.  They proposed mainstreaming a whole new technology that is already being widely used by one of the pioneers of medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.


Other awards are as follows:

  • Best design- Tinkerbell
  • Best hardware solution- Comfyball
  • Best App/Software solution- CueMe

List of pitches!

eNgage has a fantastic dancing robot that they hope to energize and engage children to take their medications appropriately.

Robot Picture


The eNgage robots shows us his interpretation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller!!


(Written by Jennifer Joe, MD, www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferjoemd/@JenniferJoeMD, jen@medstro.com.)

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

    My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.

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