Quick-scribbling magic markers on poster paper captured the flow of ideas streaming from the pioneering minds that gathered from Sept. 12 to 14 in Cabot Atrium for the second annual BWH Hackathon, hosted by Brigham Innovation Hub (Brigham iHub) and MIT H@cking Medicine. This year’s event, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), gave clinicians, engineers, designers, programmers and entrepreneurs a chance to compete and pitch projects to improve health care delivery.
Ideas and Sundaes
The kickoff featured an “Idea Share Wall” where BWH employees and patients could post different health care challenges to provide insight to hackathon participants, and perhaps inspire solutions. The kickoff also featured a “Hack Your Snack” station where people could make their own sundaes.
“We want to give our community a taste of the hackathon spirit that is helping to catalyze health care innovation here at the Brigham,” said Lesley Solomon, executive director of Brigham iHub.
In addition to the submissions on the idea wall, participants also listened to a panel discussion with BWH and BCBSMA leaders about challenges in patient care coordination, email communication, and other “pain points” in hopes that participants would consider devising solutions aligned with such themes.
During the weekend-long event, 43 problem-based pitches were presented. Teams then formed to develop solutions, with 20 teams competing for prizes during a pitch session on the last day of the hackathon.
The Winners Are…
Four prize categories were awarded to several teams. Team Cahoots won both the MIT H@cking Medicine prize and MadPow Design prize for its novel solution that allows friends and family to become involved in the care plan for patients recovering at home. Sharing the spotlight for the MIT H@cking Medicine prize was Team BioHeal, which is developing weight-based sensors in surgery boots that send a warning alarm (a sound, vibration or text message) to alert patients that they are bearing too much weight on their foot, impeding the recovery process.
Team Consent was also awarded a MadPow Design prize and BCBSMA prize for its MassHiway health information exchange, which allows health care providers to obtain explicit consent from patients to transfer their medical records via a software platform.
Team Thank You was another team scooping up double prizes—a MadPow Design prize and Brigham iHub prize—for its app and website allowing patients to easily voice their appreciation for hospital staff.
Other winners of the Brigham iHub prize included Team Debubbler, which developed a way to remove air bubbles from insulin pumps, and Team Lean Transport, which developed a dashboard and app that can be used by MRI technicians, nurses and transporters to ensure speed, accuracy and efficiency when transporting patients for an MRI scan.
Celebrating its one-year anniversary, the Brigham iHub, which launched during last year’s hackathon, brings together clinicians, scientists, programmers and others into the same space to redesign and improve patient care. Since its inception, Brigham iHub has hosted events including two hackathons, a Shark Tank competition and an innovation series.