The Use of Synthetic Data for Innovative Solutions & Healthcare in WA

The WA Health Hackathon 2023

Photo Caption: WA Health Hackathon Finale, October 19th 2023

The Use of Synthetic Data for Innovative Solutions & Healthcare in WA

Photo Caption: (L-R) Hackathon Lead Tim Sondalini presenting, networking at the Finale event at St Georges Terrace and the three Hackathon Finale judges Nasir David, Dr George Eskander and Jodie Louise Hanns MLA.

The 2023 WA Health Hackathon demonstrated the immense potential that emerges when innovative minds collaborate with cutting-edge technology to address pressing challenges in the healthcare sector.

We were privileged to witness how a gathering of technologists, innovators, tech and computing students, and software experts can transform challenges into actionable solutions that promise to reform the healthcare landscape of Western Australia.

Hosted by WA Data Science Innovation Hub, and backed by the Department of HealthMicrosoftthe Department of WA North Metropolitan Health Service and WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub  the event provided a platform for participants to address six pressing challenges in WA’s healthcare system. 

The challenges to the teams were:

1. Enhancing the patient flow in Emergency Departments.

2. Streamlining surgical and operational planning.

3. Utilising non-health data to optimise Emergency Department operations.

4. Holistic support for cancer patients through their medical journey.

5. Integration of AI and machine learning for clinical efficacy.

6. Revolutionising patient interactions within healthcare processes.

AI Advancements win Hackathon with innovative solution

A standout moment from the event was the demo presented by the winning team, AI Advancements, founded by Sean Oldenburger and Sam Cunningham

Sean and Sam’s real-time application aimed to assist healthcare professionals and patients in understanding and navigating vast amounts of unstructured data. 

By converting complex documents into understandable insights and visuals, the application streamlines healthcare processes and fosters clear communication. 

The app’s innovative feature allows extraction of textual data from various formats, including handwritten notes, demonstrating its versatile and practical use in a healthcare setting.

Photo Caption: (L-R) Sam Cunningham presenting, AI Advancements with the $5,000 prize and Sean Oldenburger presenting.

Impressive prizes awarded

Microsoft, showcasing its commitment to healthcare innovations, sponsored a $5,000 for the top prize, with other commendable solutions receiving $500 each.

Along with AI Advancements, other finalists included Byte Brawlers (Ashlesha Gill, Kaylee Molin, Joel Noble and Gavin Pikes) who received the Organiser’s Commendation, and Data Ducks (Van Zyl K., Moustafa Elzeftawy, Juan Pablo Navarro Rueda and Melanie Dietrich) who were awarded the Technical Achievement Prize.

Photo Caption: (L-R) Data Ducks win the Technical Achievement prize, Byte Brawlers win the Organiser’s Commendation and the Hackathon Judges, Alex Jenkins, Jodie Louise Hanns MLA, Dr George Eskander and Nasir David.

Judges and mentors provide invaluable guidance to teams

The Hackathon’s success was further amplified by the invaluable insights provided by our esteemed judges and mentors.

A special thanks to Jodie Louise Hanns MLA, Dr. George Eskander, and Nasir David for their dedication and assessment throughout the event. Additionally, Tracey Wilkinson from WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub and Michael Gadsden from Microsoft deserve recognition for their thoughtful and inspiring contributions.

Collaboration the key to a successful Hackathon

In the lead-up to the Hackathon, Hackathon organiser and host Tim Sondalini worked closely with the Department of Health, North Metro Health Service and Microsoft with the technical setup by Arkhana, to prepare a state-of-the-art synthetic dataset. 

Over the span of six months, they also garnered mentorship support and prepared for the event. Sylvia Young, a pivotal figure in this initiative, was instrumental in preparing this synthetic data. 

Sylvia is the Lead Data Scientist at the Department of Health and was responsible for developing, testing and the applying the approaches and algorithms used to generate the synthetic data – a groundbreaking process for a Hackathon.

Sylvia Young

Photo Caption: Sylvia Young speaks at the WA Health Hackathon mentoring workshop.

What is synthetic data?

Synthetic data is generated information that is not taken from real-world events but resembles actual data in terms of its essential characteristics. 

The use of synthetic data for this Hackathon marked a significant milestone for Australia. It not only reflects our progressive approach towards innovation but also shows the limitless possibilities that synthetic data can offer in reshaping and informing healthcare decisions.

The sheer commitment and effort from all parties involved ensured that the Hackathon had the best resources at its disposal and the use of this data was pioneering.

Future opportunities

In partnership with the key players – Department of Health, Microsoft, the Department of WA North Metropolitan Health Service, and, notably, WA Life Sciences at the helm – WADSIH has paved the way for an innovative future in healthcare. 

Through collective endeavors and the power of synthetic data, Western Australia’s healthcare landscape is poised for transformation. This is just the beginning and we’re excited to see what the future holds in store for our Hackathon teams!

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