Tackling Healthcare Issues in 24 Hours

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hackathons are typically weekend-long events where computer programmers and software developers collaborate intensively on some new app or gadget. Recently, two members of WDI’s Healthcare Research Initiative took part in a 24-hour healthcare hackathon in Cleveland.

Beatrix Balogh, a research associate on the market dynamics team at WDI, and Brittany Johnson, a senior research associate with the supply chain team, participated in the first-ever Cleveland Medical Hackathon with about 175 others from the medical, law, technology and public health fields.

Participants were split into 21 teams and tasked with identifying a problem and then using their expertise to find a technological solution in 24 hours.

Johnson said the event was relevant to the work done by WDI’s healthcare team.

“We work in finding solutions to health issues in emerging markets,” she said. “Beatrix and I wanted to experience the process of a hackathon to see other approaches to this problem solving. Cleveland, like Detroit, represent dynamics similar to emerging markets.”

Johnson was part of the second-place team, which developed a new approach to combating high infant mortality in many inner cities. The team developed a risk profile for mothers based on publicly available demographic and geographic data correlated against clinical/medical research.

The winning team developed a wearable device for a patient that measures blood pressure.

Balogh said the hackathon was a great learning experience.

“The event keeps us thoughtful about health issues in our own backyard and some of the creative ideas and tech available to confront those issues,” she said.


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