Looking to shape the future of health care and develop solutions to the field’s vexing challenges, creative minds gathered in Cabot Atrium from Nov. 6 to 8 for the third annual BWH Hackathon. The event was hosted by Brigham Innovation Hub (Brigham iHub) and MIT Hacking Medicine, a program that examines the intersection of technology and health care to solve the biggest health care challenges.
This year’s hackathon, which focused on digital health, gave clinicians, engineers, designers, programmers and entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch projects aimed at improving health care delivery. It also included a special new track offered in partnership with Epic and Microsoft: developing innovative, clinically useful applications that integrate with Partners eCare.
“With the implementation of Partners eCare in May, there is tremendous opportunity for innovation building on Epic’s foundation,” said Adam Landman, MD, MS, MIS, MHS, BWHC chief medical information officer for Health Information, Innovation and Integration. “In 36 hours, several teams built working applications that have the potential to advance electronic health record systems.”
Throughout the weekend, experts from Partners HealthCare information systems, Epic and Microsoft were on hand to mentor teams on their applications and provide technical support.
More than 100 people formed 17 teams to develop solutions, and the teams competed for prizes during a pitch session on the last day of the hackathon. Team DrEvilCorp won the BWH Open.Epic Prize for its application that provides rapid interpretation of arterial blood gas (ABG) results in Epic. This information is vital when caring for patients with a critical illness or respiratory disease, but interpretation is complex. The application speeds up and simplifies interpretation and improves accuracy. The team will have the opportunity to meet with BWH and Partners experts for feedback and pilot the application at BWH in the future.
Team Herald was awarded the Microsoft Azure and Validic mHealth prizes for designing a platform for Epic that enables clinicians to set up rules to push real-time alerts when specific events occur. For example, cardiologists may create a Herald rule that pages them whenever one of their inpatients’ troponin—a marker of heart damage—rises.
Team ICDNav won the Brigham Innovation Hub Prize for creating a tool that makes applying ICD-10 diagnosis codes faster and more intuitive for providers.
Winning the MIT Hacking Medicine Prize was Vox Docs, which created an application that uses Amazon Echo, a wireless speaker and voice command device, to allow providers to use their voices to control the electronic health record without using a computer. For example, a provider could enter a room equipped with this tool and verbally ask for the patient’s allergies or order a CT scan.
“We learn a lot every year, and this year’s hackathon, in particular, felt extremely productive,” said Lesley Solomon, executive director of Brigham iHub. “The annual event is a great way for Brigham iHub to engage Boston’s extended innovation ecosystem to think about and help solve the health care challenges we face as a community. It creates a connection to the Brigham for many people who may never walk through our doors.”
Pothik Chatterjee, manager of Innovation Strategy & Ventures with Brigham iHub, was excited that so many people, including judges and mentors, participated.
“We had 40 mentors and collaborators in industry providing expert guidance,” he said. “I loved that so many BWH clinicians came to engage with teams and provide advice. It helped teams connect to the hospital and understand what happens here on a daily basis.”
In early 2016, Brigham iHub plans to meet with the winning teams to hear about their progress and offer advice on next steps.