24 Hours of Lifesaving Collaboration at the Cleveland Medical Hackathon

On Sept. 26-27, Centric participated in the inaugural Cleveland Medical Hackathon at the Global Center for Health Innovation. The goal was to build an app in 24 hours that would improve care, reduce costs and enhance overall patient experience. The team included experienced hackers and first-timers, and not all developers. So what did this disparate group think of the event? What were the lessons learned? In this series of articles, hear their unique perspective on this enlightening event.

What do you get when you bring together:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Supply chain experts
  • Patient experience analysts
  • Product designers
  • FDA and IP legal experts
  • IT gurus
  • Seasoned business analysts
  • Project managers

You get the Cleveland Medical Hackathon, held Sept. 26 – 27 at the Global Center for Health Innovation.

The Windup…and The Pitch!

The format was simple: Got an idea? Pitch it. Have a problem that needs solving? Ask for help. You have 45 seconds. Ready…Go!

45 pitches resulted in 21 solution teams – about twice as many as the planning committee expected, so it was challenging to squeeze them all in…but we did it.

After the pitches were presented, the crowd of over 500 mingled around, eventually morphing into teams that would spend A LOT of time together in the remaining 20 or so hours.

A Passion for Healthcare

Participants ranged in age from high school students to seasoned IT and healthcare leaders with over 30 years’ experience. Once you realize that these expert participants are also concerned parents, community leaders and caretakers of ailing family members, you realize you not only get lifesaving solutions but a palpable passion that can and needs to be leveraged in our healthcare community.

Additionally, the range of participating companies, healthcare institutions and educational institutions was wide. Indeed, the truly international crowd came from the east and west coasts as well as a variety of countries. It was due to this incredible diversity that each team was able to develop and present a high-value solution in such a short period of time. At one point I imagined the brain waves in the building were going to melt the glass windows!

The event concluded on Sunday with a five-minute presentation from each team. It seemed as though some teams had worked on their presentations for days, considering how well done they were. And when the judges came back with the winners, there truly was a feeling that we were all winners…but ultimately, the entire healthcare community was the winner. The key now is to perpetuate this momentum, and leverage these fantastic budding solutions, and relationships, to help save lives.

An Extraordinary Event

I must make a special note about the planners and sponsors of the event. The entire event was very well planned and facilitated. I don’t think we could have had a better setting with better resources. And kudos to James Krouse, our fearless leader and the man with the microphone. He made all the coordination and stress look insignificant, and his collaborative spirit and calm poise really set the right tone for an event meant to serve the community. Thank you, James. And, of course, thank you to all the sponsors, judges, coaches and participants who sacrificed personal weekend time to help make the world a better place.

This event exceeded my expectations in all respects, and I personally commit to ensuring that this collaborative energy continues, through events like this and through maintaining relationships that were forged at the hackathon.

Joe SmucnyJoe Smucny is a Cleveland Practice Lead. He brings a variety of executive management experience that offers leadership to Centric’s operations and empathy for client executives. IT has been central to Joe’s career. Prior to Centric, he served as Chief Information Officer at Cuyahoga Community College, Ohio’s first and largest community college. His responsibilities included the development of the vision and management of operations for all facets of IT at the college’s seven locations, which serves more than 40,000 students.Contact Joe to learn more.