Hacking our way to a new mobile app

Brian Rosman holds up a tablet app he and a team of Children's and MIT Media Lab staff developed over the past two weeks during the Health and Wellness Hackathon

At 10 a.m. he’s directing two actors on set, at 10:34 a.m. he’s filling up a catheter and at 11:01 a.m. he’s gushing about the importance of pediatric avatars. Brian Rosman, a Robotic Surgery Research Fellow in the Department of  Urology at Children’s Hospital Boston, has been working non-stop at the MIT Media Lab’s Health & Wellness hackathon to create a new app for post-operative care. His duties have included directing a video about the app, rounding up realistic props and explaining how the program works to judges and hackathon attendees.

Rosman and his team of coders, clinicians and industry professionals are competing against five other teams for a $10,000 prize awarded to the best open source healthcare application.

Patients create their own avatar in RALPH and receive a check mark next to completed tasks with the aim of collecting points for each activity

Rosman believes RALPH (the Recovery Application for the Home) will empower patients to monitor their health after surgery.

“This helps patients become involved in their own care and recovery,” he said. “Normally families will see the end result of a surgery but aren’t fully involved in helping their child get there–this changes that.”

The application features an avatar that the patient creates pre-surgery and then can see after they return home. When the patient checks off medical tasks like taking a medication or monitoring their fluid intake they get points. With enough points they can “buy” accessories for their avatar which creates an incentive for kids to follow up on the doctor’s orders. Rosman’s team includes David Furnivall, Paul Franzosa, Uri Feldman and, from the Innovation Acceleration Program’s FIT Team at Children’s,  Melinda Tang, Gajen Sunthara and Elizabeth Phillips.

The winner of the competition will be announced at 4p.m. today and the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive $3,000 and $2,000 each. Stay tuned, we’ll announce an update within the next hour!

[UPDATE 4:50pm]: The winner is the asthma management team, and Children’s Hospital Boston won third place!