HealthHacks Aims to Solve Real-World Problems
Zig Ziglar was a motivational coach for millions. He once said, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.” That sort of hospitable spirit towards others has never rang more true in the hearts of Richmond entrepreneurs as it did recently on our campus at VCU.
This year, we hosted our very first medical hack-a-thon – HealthHacks.
HealthHacks focused on solving real-world dilemmas faced by patients and professionals in the medical industry. During the event, students from across the various schools on campus came together to collaborate on ways to tackle issues in the medical field effecting how people heal.
Here was the challenge to students:
After dividing into teams of four, they were given 24 hours to address one of three issues: product design defects; complications in hospital throughput; or effecting transformation in patient experience. At the end of HealthHacks, each team translated their solution into a fully prototyped form that was presented to a board of professional judges.
In order to aid the process, HealthHacks provided mentors from all fields – from engineering to medicine – to teach and coach product design construction, technological advancements in medicine, and more. At the end of HealthHacks, the teams presented a number of diversified solutions to their challenges.
Venture Creation University
Venture Creation University is VCU's strategy for ensuring all students are exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship and have access to entrepreneurial pathways. To find out more about this effort, and to learn about innovation and entrepreneurial programs offered at VCU, visit: http://entrepreneurship.vcu.edu/
Included among the solutions were:
- ·Heart-in-Hand: This software application turns 2D CT scans into 3D virtual reality images, giving patients and professionals an additional tool for evaluating and understanding scans.
- ·A team from the Steward School created a concussion-detecting helmet that displays various colors, alerting coaches and medical staff to the severity of player hits to the head and the number of collisions throughout a day.
- ·Starshine: This wheelchair improvement reduces the complications of using a joystick control and increases the mobility of users.
- ·License to Pill: This app creates an award system through a smartwatch that reminds patients to take medication.
- ·AmpEase: This dual-mechanism syringe can administer life-saving drugs to patients in cardiac crisis in a more effective and faster way than a traditional IV.
- ·StrangeQuarks: This social app/wellness tracker creates a friendlier experience for those suffering from diabetes and facing its daily challenges.
- ·Tremor Sense: This wearable wristband can diagnose and rate tremors and determine the effectiveness of prescribed medications.
- ·F.R.I.E.N.D.: This acronym stands for Fast Responsive Intensive Emergency Needs Drone. It can send medics in the field extra supplies in times of crisis or disaster.
Ultimately, 31 teams were judged on creativity, innovation, impact of the project, and level of difficulty to develop, implement, and bring their product to market. While someone had to be the “winner,” it was clear that all of the teams had an entrepreneurial mindset and had created something that could be of great value to both those in medicine and those who rely on it.
Winning HealthHacks was Heart-in-Hand. Like many of the pitches, the potential to educate patients through their own bodies may help to transform our current idea of healthcare into a more patient-centric one.
Do you have the entrepreneurial mindset and have an idea with the possibility to transform? Perhaps you, too, have an idea for transformation in healthcare? Each Thursday in Founder’s Corner we host Pop-Up Pitch. No matter the level of your development or fine-tuning of your pitch, students are invited to present their big ideas, get valuable feedback, and receive advice on the possible next steps of their entrepreneurial journey. We also have mentors on-hand throughout the day to help you get started. Craft your entrepreneurial idea, or simply come for some inspiration. Your venture has to start somewhere, and VCU might just be that place. We are, after all, a Venture Creation University.