Award Winners Named in Valley Children’s First-Ever Hackathon

Award Winners Named in Valley Children’s First-Ever Hackathon

(Madera, California) – Ideas from Valley Children’s first-ever Hackathon are one step closer to hitting market and improving pediatric healthcare for families throughout the country. Last weekend, more than 60 participants took part in a three-day event that brought together pediatric caregivers, business leaders, computer science professionals, college students, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The goal - to “hack” solutions to problems in healthcare.

The theme was Rethinking Pediatric Healthcare: Innovations for our “New Normal” and due to COVID-19, the entire event took place virtually. Winning teams received cash prizes and now move forward with the Innovation Lab’s incubation process – valued at up to $100,000.

“In a year full of unprecedented events, our inaugural hackathon shows that out of the chaos of a pandemic and natural disasters comes innovation to reshape the way we do many things in our lives - and that can drastically accelerate the rate of change and innovation in pediatric healthcare,” says Valley Children’s President and CEO Todd Suntrapak. “We are grateful to everyone involved in making the hackathon happen, including the Innovation Institute and Microsoft. It is inspiring to see what is possible when so many bright minds come together to improve the health of kids.”

The hackers were grouped into smaller teams and charged with working through the weekend creating solutions to problems brought forth by healthcare professionals at the beginning of the event. Participants included staff and physicians from Valley Children’s and other pediatric hospitals, and students from universities including Fresno State, UC Irvine, UC Merced and the University of Chicago.

Here are the award winners:

First place ($1,000) – “Blood Shopping on a Budget.” This team, which included Valley Children’s Pediatric Resident Dr. Karen Wong and students from UC Irvine and the University of Chicago, created a computer program to help improve how clinicians order blood draws for labs.

Second place ($750) – “Electronic Screening for COVID-19.” These hackers developed a comprehensive approach to improving the employee screening process for COVID-19. Members of this group included Valley Children’s representatives from Information Technology Services, the Emergency Department, Nursing and Radiology.

Third place ($500) – “WeAchieve.” A team of Valley Children’s employees, patient family advisory council members and students from Fresno State and UC Irvine worked on an app-based solution to help alert those with certain medical conditions when the air quality or other environmental factors might impede their health, warning them to stay indoors.

Valley Children’s thanks all of the judges who volunteered their time for this event. The panel of experts included Jeff Fattic and Molly McCarthy from Microsoft, Dr. Joseph Shonkwiler from Amazon Web Services, Ellen Herlacher from LRV Health, a health venture capital fund, and from Valley Children’s, Medical Director of Neuroscience Dr. Cesar Santos and VP/Chief Information Officer Kevin Shimamoto. More than one dozen people from around the country also served as mentors, guiding teams throughout the three-day problem-solving process.

“The event was incredibly fun,” says Dr. Karen Wong, Valley Children’s pediatric resident and first-place winner. “I’m excited to join the Innovation Lab in coming up with a working prototype for us to try out. Can’t wait for next year’s Hackathon!”

All Hackathon teams will now collaborate with the Innovation Lab to advance their projects toward market.

In October of 2019, Valley Children’s launched a partnership with The Innovation Institute, a national, independent medical product incubator and healthcare series provider to spark innovation across the health network. The Institute’s Innovation Lab is staffed with scientists, doctors and commercialization experts who evaluate ideas, build prototypes, protect them, license them and then take them to market directly or through industry partners. Valley Children’s innovation program, known as George’s Idea Lab, operates as part of The Innovation Lab.

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