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Thirty-five teams compete for $21,000 in prizes at the Independence/Jefferson Health Hack.

Finalists on the AR/VR track, team Up Goers, one of the many teams who made Hamilton their home over the weekend. Pictured (left to right): Heli Patel, pre-med student at Penn State; Samir Khan (sitting) engineer and entrepreneur; Dan Gray, medical student, Sidney Kimmel Medical College; Almando Santos, coder/developer; Christine Fisher, PhD student, Jefferson. Not pictured: Rebecca Jonas, medical student, Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

The second annual Independence/Jefferson Health Hack pulled in over 300 registrants from seven states and nine countries. The hackathon was set in Jefferson’s Dorrance H. Hamilton Building in November for a three day weekend full of brainstorming, networking, and ultimately collaboration for participants to define and “hack” solutions to some of the world’s greatest healthcare problems. Of the more than 300 registrants, more than 200 fully participated in the entire weekend. Dozens of others attended workshops and demos offered by Thorne Media, Surgical Theater, Photon Biomedical, Ultimaker, Microsoft, IBM, and Cloudmine. The crowd included entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, designers, programmers, and students from within the Jefferson network and the surrounding community to embrace Jefferson’s design thinking approach of ideating, rapid prototyping, and iteration. Participants were able to pitch a problem on Friday, formulate a solution and assemble a team on Saturday, and present a proposal to a panel of judges on Sunday. Three winners and six finalists were awarded a total of $21,000.

Each year, three tracks are chosen to focus teams onto innovative avenues within healthcare. The tracks this year were:

  • Patient Engagement - sponsored by Independence Blue Cross
  • Connected Health - sponsored by Comcast & NBC Universal
  • Augmented / Virtual Reality - sponsored by IBM & Photon Biomedical

The hackathon kicked off on Friday night with an IBM-sponsored light show, with Dr. Stephen “Little Stevie Kent” Klasko as a guest DJ.

Deidre Cushwa, Client Manager, IBM Public Sector, Healthcare and Life Sciences, on opening night.

Rick Neeson, Executive Vice President and Chief Development and Innovation Officer, Independence Blue Cross.

Pictured (left to right): Rick Neeson, Executive Vice President and Chief Development and Innovation Officer, Independence Blue Cross; Joe Devine, CEO, Kennedy Health; Dr. Stephen Klasko, President and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Donna Gentile O’Donnell, Vice President, Innovation Partnerships and Programs for Thomas Jefferson University; Dr. Robert Pugliese, Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy & Co-Director, JeffDESIGN; Dr. Bon Ku, Associate Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine & Director, JeffDESIGN. Robert served as lead coordinator for the event while Donna and Bon served as co-directors.

Dr. Stephen “Little Stevie Kent” Klasko, President and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health took the stage on Friday night to kick off the hackathon in a flash dance with student and Innovation Team leadership!

Pictured (left to right, all facing camera): Dr. Donna Gentile O’Donnell, Vice President, Innovation Partnerships and Programs for Thomas Jefferson University; Michelle Histand, Innovation Director at Independence Blue Cross; Tom Olenzak, Managing Director Strategic Innovation Portfolio, Corporate Development and Innovation, Independence Blue Cross.

Rose Ritts, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer at Jefferson

Among this year’s teams were two third year medical students from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Mihir Sheth and Steve Selverian. Their idea, PulmTracker, took first place on the connected health track. It was aimed at using smartphones to aid patients in respiratory distress. Sheth said his education thus far served him well in the competition: “Medical students have the benefit of getting a taste of numerous branches of medicine within a short period of time, which puts us in a good position to ‘connect the dots’ and use principles from one field to solve problems in another.”

Connected Health Winners PulmTracker. Pictured (left to right): Steve Selverian, third year medical student, Sidney Kimmel Medical College; Rose Ritts, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer at Jefferson; Mihir Sheth, third year medical student, Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

The winning team on the augmented/virtual reality track, BTI Prosthetics, combined the minds of an engineer, a SKMC medical student, Abington Hospital’s Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, and a professional tinkerer to train amputees in use of artificial limbs. “We looked at optimizing the entire way a prosthetic is integrated with a patient,” said engineer and physicist James McGall, who heard about the hackathon on Facebook. “This can be achieved by using neural networking and an AR training program to map a patient’s natural neural network with the desired function of a prosthetic. The goal is to create prosthetics with as much functionality and ease of use as if they had the limb.” Diane Humbrecht, Abington Hospital’s Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, was only one of a host of Abington participants this year. “What I learned from participating in the hackathon is that you don’t have to be an engineer, developer, or physicist to participate,” said Diane. “I am so proud of our innovators from Abington-Jefferson Health who contributed their creativity and energy to address vexing healthcare challenges,” said Meg McGoldrick, President at Abington-Jefferson Health.

AR/VR Winners BTI Prosthetics. Pictured (left to right): James McGall, engineer and physicist; Diane Humbrecht, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, Abington Hospital; Rose Ritts, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer at Jefferson; Matthew Scott Carr, medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Not pictured: Bob Humbrecht, professional tinkerer.

Teams had a chance to visit makerspace NextFab in South Philadelphia on Saturday to create rapid prototypes and tap into the geniuses who staff the 21,000 sq. ft. warehouse. Participants were able to use the woodworking and metal shops, along with an array of 3D printers to bring their ideas to life.

Two participants creating a prototype at NextFab.

A participant soldering electrical components at NextFab.

Two teams hard at work at NextFab.

Patient engagement finalists Safety Briefs spent a portion of Saturday at NextFab to design a pair of undergarments with a built-in airbag to prevent hip fractures. Pictured (left to right): Adam Hecht, industrial design student at Philadelphia University; Daniel Choi, first year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College; Kristen Adorno, third year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

There was plenty to keep the teams well fueled and stimulated over the weekend. The Health Hack doesn’t require attendees to join a team; many come to enjoy unique “pop-ups” or to simply be inspired. Surgical Theater and Thorne Media were both in attendance to give teams a qui.te literal break from reality with theirvirtual reality rigs. Yoga and neck massages were also offered to participants to keep stress levels at bay. Cosponsor Comcast delivered by dishing out Saxby’s cold brew all weekend and came to the rescue via a late night Au Bon Pain delivery on Saturday.

Thorne Media show off the Oculus Rift.

The event was staffed by the Jefferson Innovation team, staff and medical students from JeffDESIGN, and other members of the Jefferson network. Robert Pugliese, a Jefferson pharmacist, professor, and co-director for JeffDESIGN, served as the Hack’s lead coordinator. “The Health Hack is a great opportunity for our students to get leadership experience and be a part of an event that could have tremendous implications on improving care. I was especially proud to see few of the winning teams this year containing JeffDESIGN students, a testament to the skills they are learning within the program,” said Pugliese.

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Donna Gentile O’Donnell, Vice President, Innovation Partnerships and Programs for Thomas Jefferson University; Greta Guzman, Manager, Business Development, Innovation Pillar, Thomas Jefferson University; Christine Tran, Coordinator, Innovation Pillar, Thomas Jefferson University.

Pictured: Robert Pugliese (left), Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy & Co-Director, JeffDESIGN; Dr. Bon Ku (right), Associate Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine & Director, JeffDESIGN. Robert Pugliese served as lead coordinator for the hackathon this year.

The main hack floor in the Hamilton Building, buzzing with working innovation.

Teams delivered five minute pitches on Sunday to a host of judges, who were separated by track:

Patient Engagement

  • Terry Booker, Vice President for Corporate Development and Innovation, Independence Blue Cross
  • Tom Olenzak, Managing Director, Strategic Innovation Portfolio, Corporate Development and Innovation, Independence Blue Cross
  • Michelle Histand, Innovation Director, Independence Blue Cross
  • Ayesha Khalid, MD, ENT Surgeon, MIT Hacking Medicine

Connected Health

  • Richard Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Connected Health Partnerships, Digitas Health
  • Todd Corlett, Director, Industrial Design Programs, Philadelphia University
  • Wilma Chan, MD, Director of Ultrasound Education, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Archna Sahay, Director, Entrepreneurial Investment for City of Philadelphia

Augmented/Virtual Reality

  • Katey Metzroth, Director, Community Innovation, Second Mused
  • Michael Leonard, Academic Dean for the School of Design and Engineering, Philadelphia University
  • Daniel Wasser, MD, President, Photon Biomedical
  • John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Ecosystem Advocate, IBM

Mentors of varying disciplines were available to offer advice to the teams throughout the weekend. Aditi Joshi, an emergency medicine physician and medical director of JeffConnect was one of many who volunteered their time. “I was interested in how people from varied backgrounds view and navigate our healthcare system and what they would improve. They all brought a lot of energy and their innovative ideas were inspiring,” said Joshi.

Robin Sheldon, Vice President, Innovation Management, Thomas Jefferson University (right, facing camera) in front of the mentor lounge where teams were able to consult with various experts.

Michael Hoad, Executive Editor, Healthcare Transformation, coaching winning team Pulmtracker on final presentation skills.

Dr. Steve Spinelli (left), president of Philadelphia and incoming Jefferson Chancellor, presenting the awards at the conclusion with Dr. Bon Ku (right), Associate Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine & Director, JeffDESIGN.

View more photos from the event here: Health Hack Photo Albums

Click here to view all winners: 2016 Health Hack Winners

The 2016 Independence/Jefferson Health Hack took place from November 4th to November 6th.

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