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Meet the MIT Grand Hack Winners

MIT GrandHack Photo

The Cancer Companion Team from the Telehealth Track celebrates a successful weekend of hacking with the MIT Hacking Medicine organizers and Merck sponsors. Photo via MIT Hacking Med.

Organized by MIT Hacking Medicine on April 24 to 26, 2015, the Grand Hack brought together 80 teams and 450 participants from 19 states and eight countries. Participants spent 48 hours discussing healthcare problems, developing business models and presenting innovative solutions. The teams worked to tackle healthcare challenges within four tracks: global health, primary care, telehealth enabled care pathways and wearables.

Now in its second year, the Grand Hack is MIT Hacking Medicine’s flagship event, hacking healthcare by bringing the entire spectrum of healthcare stakeholders together in one building.

“With the collision of health, high tech, and value-based care, there really is no better time to create a healthcare start-up,” said Zen Chu, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and one of the founders of MIT Hacking Medicine. “We’re excited to see teams from this weekend develop and launch their solutions.”

Meet the Winners

GE Primary Care Track

My Proxie, winner of the GE Primary Care Track Prize and Patient Shark Tank Prize, is an easy-to-use online service that allows you to designate a healthcare proxy and a backup in under 30 seconds. It uses a simple design and social media to bring humanity back into proxy designation. The program also provides resources, discussion guides and decision making tools for advance care planning.

Infinity Ultrasound, winner of the GE Ultrasound Grand Prize, is a mobile app that guides sonographers towards ideal ultrasound probe positioning in real time.

“Ultrasound technology may be the key to impacting big change in the rapidly evolving field of primary care. It’s portable, low cost and has no ionizing radiation,” said Anders Wold, President and CEO of Ultrasound, GE Healthcare. “Collaborating with MIT on the Grand Hack allows us to bring together brain power from across the healthcare industry to develop solutions to the most pressing challenges with a goal of improving access to quality care today. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

Merck KGaA Telehealth Track

Cancer Companion, winner of the Merck KGaA Telehealth Track, is a virtual navigator that helps coordinate and keep patients on the best treatment plans in accordance to NCCN guidelines through the journey from diagnosis through completion of treatment.

“The creativity and productivity demonstrated at the MIT Hacking Medicine event was very impressive; the approach is a valuable addition to our open innovation activities. We are looking forward to following up with the teams on further interaction,” said Ulrich Betz, Head Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubator Merck KGaA, Germany.

Mass General Hospital’s CAMTech Global Health Track

Nyweza, winner of Mass General Hospital’s CAMTech Global Health Prize, is an easy-to-install device that enhances safety for the predominantly female passengers of motorcycles in low and middle- income countries.

PRELT, winner of the AB InBev Prize for Pedestrian Safety, helps provides enhanced protection for pregnant women in traffic accidents.

Elizabeth Bailey, Director of MGH’s Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech), said, “The Grand Hack is an early window into the disruptions we will soon see in healthcare globally.”

Microsoft Wearables Track

Pillar, winner of the Microsoft Wearables Track, is a smart bracelet birth control dispenser that integrates with both Microsoft Band and a mobile application with intelligence algorithms for non-compliance recovery instructions.

“We are thrilled to support such an innovative and creative event. The hackers at the MIT Grand Hacking event are working to develop the technologies we will use tomorrow,” said Zulfi Alam, General Manager of Microsoft Personal Devices. “We continue to support the work of great developers to enhance and extend the Microsoft Band experience.”


“We are so excited to see the diversity of clinicians, engineers, developers, and designers, because we find that the best healthcare solutions come from the most diverse teams,” said Priya Garg, MIT mechanical engineering senior and MIT Hacking Medicine co-director.

Lina Colucci, co-director of MIT Hacking Medicine and a PhD student in the MIT-Harvard Health Sciences and Technology program, was also excited about how the event turned out this year. “All of us have a stake in what the future of healthcare looks like because all of us will interface with the healthcare system at some point in our lives,” she said. “Health hackathons like the Grand Hack bring diverse stakeholders under one roof and allow them to create that future together.”

“The mission of MIT Hacking Medicine is to energize the health ecosystem, solving some of healthcare’s biggest challenges by connecting the best and most diverse minds,” said Shirlene Liew, Director of Marketing and PR at MIT Hacking Medicine, and a System Design and Management (SDM) Fellow at MIT School of Engineering and MIT Sloan School of Management. Since holding the first ever health hackathon in 2010, the MIT student group has organized 37 health hackathons with more than 30 national and international organizations. More than 10 healthcare start-ups have emerged from MIT HackMed’s health hackathons.

Laura Henze Russell

Laura Henze Russell

    An economist by training, Laura Henze Russell applies the multiple lenses of economics, ethics, efficacy and common sense to shine a light on real world problems, from how the cost of living varies throughout the lifespan by health status, to how we can accelerate the promise of precision medicine. She has an M.A. in Economics from the University of California and a B.A. from Hampshire College. She is also the principal of Precision Research, Writing & Communications and of Good Works Consulting, with experience in the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

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