Hacking solutions for global health challenges

From a diabetes management app to oxygen in a backpack, hackers from diverse backgrounds joined together at the 2017 Global Health Hackathon to create solutions for some of the most difficult global healthcare challenges.

Hosted by Baylor Global Initiatives, the hackathon took place from June 12 to 28. The expanded two-week format allowed participants to focus on several aspects of their innovations.

Team Shield O2 along with Dr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy, director of Baylor Global Initiatives and Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean at Baylor . Credit: Sean McConathy

“We asked the participants to hack toward four different challenge areas. They built prototypes, came up with business plans, and we ended up with several concepts that have a true capacity to impact global health,” said Sarah Michel, senior project manager of the Global Innovation Center at Baylor Global Initiatives.

The global health challenges presented at this year’s hackathon were women’s health in procedural care, global health security, orthopedics and rehabilitation and providing medical care in space.

Throughout the hackathon, mentors with experience in medicine, engineering, social science, business, design, and technology offered their advice and guidance to help ensure the 12 teams continued on the right path while developing their ideas.

After a week of brainstorming, each team pitched their ideas during the elimination round. The final teams pitching were:

  • Shield O2: Affordable and sustainable oxygen in a backpack.
  • High Performance. Delivered.: A modular protective sleeve that can be modified based on the patients’ needs to reduce the number of diabetic amputations.
  • MotoPen: A locally produced, reusable electrosurgical pen and grounding pad.
  • Wounderful: A device to improve wound care in space and other challenging environments.
  • Flavor: A product that masks the taste of antiretroviral drugs.
  • Diabeticx Solutions: An app that incentivizes patients and providers to care more about following diabetes treatment.
  • SriTech: A smartphone app for diabetic foot prevention.

Judges selected the Shield O2 for the top prize. The team received $1,000, six months of co-working space in the TMC Innovation Institute and the opportunity to attend TMCx accelerator courses. Diabeticx took second place while Flavor won third place.

Dania Albaba, a member of team Shield O2, is looking forward to putting the team’s concept to practical use.

“For us, the next step in this process is to discuss how to create a more fine-tuned, working prototype of our product. Hopefully we can complete this technology soon so we can really help people,” she said.

See photos from the event in the gallery below.

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-By Julia Bernstein


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