Hacking Pediatrics 2.0 draws 22 digital health pitches

by Nancy Fliesler on October 21, 2014

Hacking Pediatarics brainstorming wall

(Dana Hatic for MedTech Boston)

What are the pain points in pediatrics? There are at least 37: the number of clinicians, parents and others who lined up at the podium last weekend to pitch problems they hoped to solve at the second annual Hacking Pediatrics.

The hackathon, produced by Boston Children’s Hospital in collaboration with MIT Hacking Medicine, brought out many common themes: Helping kids with chronic illnesses track their symptoms, take their meds and avoid lots of clinic visits. Helping parents coordinate their children’s care and locate resources. Helping pediatric clinicians make better decisions with the right information at the right time.

Hackathons have a simple formula: Pitch. Mix. Hack. Get Feedback. Iterate. Repeat—as many times as possible. As like-minded clinicians, parents, software developers, designers and others began to team up, mentors circulated to guide them—from veteran parent- and clinician-innovators to mHealth industry folk offering building-block tools such as the HIPAA-compliant TigerText. There was lots of Millennial energy.

Roughly 18 hours later, with lots of sticky notes and discarded coffee cups to show for it, 22 teams lined up to pitch their solutions, prototypes and proposed business model before a panel of judges.  A half-hour break, and then the prizes:

Awarded by Hacking Pediatrics:

First prize ($3,000): ReadySetGo

Mobile app for hospital discharge

ReadySetGo user interface

Three different people pitched hospital discharge as an area of much pain for parents, especially when their children need complex follow-up care. I saw this first hand while shadowing the Complex Care Service at Boston Children’s, so was delighted that these people found each other and joined forces. Based on an evidence-based framework for discharge developed at Boston Children’s Hospital, ReadySetGo would provide a mobile, interactive roadmap—starting right at hospital admission—to prepare families to care for their child at home. Families would click different tabs during the hospitalization, such as Care Team, Discharge Goals, Needs Assessment and Home Care Instructions; type questions for clinicians; and, during a final check-in, confirm they’re ready for discharge. Families would receive the app free, while hospitals would avoid preventable (and non-reimbursable) 30-day re-admissions. Watch Vector for more on this project in the coming weeks.

Team members: Kevin Blaine, Gordon Massey and Nitin Gujral of Boston Children’s, with parent Tami Rich, Lindsey Kempton, Mary Beth Schoening and Jason Costello.

Second prize ($2,000): Genetiscripts

Spearheaded by pharmacist Shannon Manzi, PharmD, this project built on the clinical pharmacogenomics program she leads at Boston Children’s, prototyping an app that would bring patients’ genetic data to the point of care. Here’s how it would work: When a doctor places an order for, say, codeine, a warning not to prescribe it might pop up—“Your patient is a CYP2D6 ultra-rapid metabolizer”—along with a list of alternative medications.  The team envisions a subscription service supported by insurance companies, with a portal for clinicians and pharmacies. The app is well-timed: “Clinicians are going to have to incorporate genetic data into prescribing in the next 5 to 10 years,” pointed out Manzi.

Team members: Shannon Manzi and Jared Hawkins of Boston Children’s Hospital, with Michael McDuffie, Ruth Park, Jim Gregoric Mollie Ullman-Cullere.

Third prize ($1,000): BreatheSMART: A cap, app and dashboard for asthma inhalers to monitor a patient’s inhaler usage, doses and airflow. While other smart inhalers are in development, the hackers say BreatheSMART brings together multiple elements: a peak flow meter, automatic alerts when “rescue” inhalers are used too much, secure messaging to parents via TigerText (which gave its own award), analytics, coordinated care, kid friendliness and longer battery life.

Team members: Jenn Schumann, Ketan Mane, Jeffrey Tagen, Chavi Rehani, Ari Roshko

Honorable mention: PediCare GPS: This mobile app, championed by a mom, would help parents build a digital care map for their child and locate trusted, crowd-sourced local resources to help implement the care plan.

Team members: Stacy Humphrey, Jenn Fiore, Angel Municio, Smitha Gudapakkam, Brent Anthony, Lauren Black, Kat Xu, Carissa Black

Other prizes from event sponsors:

Team Emma. Led by a dad of a 6-year-old girl with respiratory problems, this team prototyped a discreet wireless system for monitoring blood oxygen saturation, and won a Boston Pediatric Device Consortium prize. A sensor worn on the upper arm would capture real-time pulse-ox data, track trends and send the data to the school nurse and other clinicians—without the child having to leave the classroom, take time off from play or be labeled as a “sick kid.”

WhatVax, a vaccine tracking system, won a “Springboard” Prize from Boston Children’s Innovation Acceleration Program. Pitched by Boston Children’s nurses, the system helps medical practices with the onerous task of tracking vaccine administration, so they can be eligible for more state-funded vaccines.

CrazyMovz, a video physical therapy system where kids can have group “playdates” with exercising at home, won three prizes: six Withings pulse ox activity trackers and three Chromebooks from MailJet (a “best implementation” award for its email solutions).

Plenty of other interesting ideas were pitched: VaMaNos would provide free cellphone minutes to Latin American parents who have their children vaccinated. Squirt for Squirt would provide pre-filled syringes to make it easy for parents to administer multiple medications. THERASearcher would provide up-to-the-minute information on community behavioral health services, including insurance plans accepted. But not all could make the cut—at least this year.

For more, check out our Storify and visit HackingPediatrics itself.

Join us at the Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2014 on October 30-31 at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center. Some remaining seats left at www.takingontomorrow.org. If you attended Hacking Pediatrics, you can use code HACKPEDS at checkout for a 25% discount; if not, you can use code VECTOR for a 10% discount.

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