The 3rd annual Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)-MIT Hacking Medicine Hackathon, which took place this past weekend, was the largest one to date by all metrics: number of corporate sponsors, awards, teams and mentors.
The hackathon began Saturday morning with a series of one minute pitches by attendees looking to form a team around a specific idea. Although most pitches were given by physicians, a large cohort of students from nearby medical schools also took the stage. Dayton McMillan, a first year med student at Harvard, proposed building a tool to display accurate radiation doses for patients prior to a CT scan in their medical record, in hopes that the metric would encourage providers to cut down on unnecessary scans. One Sloan MBA student and one MIT undergrad also came to the stage with plans to improve patient satisfaction and reduce errors in care transitions, respectively.
On the coding end, Boston-based health tech firm Kyruus had a strong showing of engineers and developers looking to form teams with the presenters. Developers from October’s BWH Shark Tank winners Memora Health and WatchRx also attended to hear pitches and help clinicians prototype interesting ideas. All in all, about 20 teams formed Saturday morning.
Hackers worked late into Saturday night on their prototypes, returning to the Brigham on Sunday morning to prepare for judging. For the final presentation, each team had three minutes total to describe the problem, demo the solution and explain its value proposition and business model. The panel of judges consisted of BWH’s very own Chief Innovation Officer David Bates and medicine resident Shubha Bhat, as well as MIT Hacking Medicine’s co-founder Zen Chu and healthcare experts from Epic, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
Winning teams built apps focusing either on cost-cutting measures in clinical practice or lightening physicians’ workloads by automating complex tasks. The Open.Epic prize–offered by event sponsor Epic to the team that made best use of the company’s FHIR-based APIs–was given to the cleverly-named DrEvilCorp, a team led by Harvard cardiologists Paul Varghese and Mujeeb Basit who built an EHR-integrated tool to automatically interpret arterial blood gas results for physicians.
Team VoxDocs walked away with the MIT Hacking Medicine prize for building a voice-controlled EHR interface using Amazon Echo so physicians could spend less time on the computer and more time with the patient.
ICD-Nav, a team from Brown Medical School, Kyruus and the Brigham won the iHub award for a billing tool that makes ICD-10 diagnosis codes more intuitive for physicians to use, so they can get appropriately reimbursed for the care they provide.
All of the award winners will receive some combination of mentoring, in-kind services and pilot opportunities for their products. Although there were no official cash prizes, judge Zen Chu of MIT Hacking Medicine gave VoxDocs a $5 bill as testament to his enthusiasm for the team’s idea. Unfortunately, the team won’t be considering Chu’s investment as their Series A round.
Jayson Marwaha is a medical student at Brown University who does research and writing on data, finance, and safety in healthcare. Follow him on Twitter at @Jayson_Marwaha.
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