Two day intense programming projects or “hackathons” are quite common in the software business, but India hosted a first-of-a-kind medical device and healthcare project this year.
As part of a new, USAID-funded partnership with GE Healthcare India and Glocal Healthcare, CAMTech’s first ever healthcare Hackathon took place at GE’s R&D Center in Bangalore this summer.
With only forty eight hours to go from an idea to a prototype to a workable business model, the hackers worked late into the night. The event showed the potential of an exciting new approach to research and development: current-day technologies and healthcare systems were deconstructed and used to complement, or even replace, traditional devices in the context of a developing Indian market. “The event is a new way of elevating the experience and know-how of local experts and using strategies from not just engineering, but also public health and business, to develop new tools to improve health,” said Elizabeth Bailey, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We’re focused on finding impactful, marketable, and easy-to-adopt ways to change the way we provide care to women and children.”
A Clinical Summit took place prior to the hackathon that brought together experts from the healthcare, engineering and business industries. The Summit identified 75 of the most pressing issues in Indian healthcare, highlighting the need for innovation in mother and child care in particular.
The top three creations were awarded monetary prizes along with the chance to see their idea carried further by CAMTech and GE Healthcare India. In addition to monetary prizes, the winners will also benefit from three years of support and office space at the Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center Healthcare Technology Incubator.
- First prize, Rs. 250,000, went to a mobile application called BabySteps, which aids early diagnosis of developmental delays in children.
- In second place, with a Rs. 150,000 reward came PEC-Dia, a measurement system developed to diagnose a condition called Cephalo Pelvic Disproportion (CPD, which occurs when the baby’s head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis).
- In third place, with Rs. 75,000, was the Pregmatic, a wearable device that reminds pregnant women about important developmental milestones to be aware of throughout their pregnancy, at which they may need critical care.