Wow what a week! WA Health Hackathon Week was a very exciting and busy week of knowledge sharing, upskilling, collaboration and innovation. We had 18 fantastic teams (61 participants in total) comprising of students, software developers, data scientists/analysts, researchers, clinicians, business managers/directors and more – such a fantastic mix of skillsets and experiences were brought to the table.
We kicked off WA Health Hackathon Week on Monday 16th with a fantastic launch event overlooking the Swan River at the Tank Steam Labs event space. We were joined by a fantastic lineup of health innovation experts including Jonathan Carapetis (Telethon Kids Institute); Sarah Bassett (Amazon Web Services (AWS); Catherine Resnick GAICD (InsightfulX, formerly KinChip Systems); and Andrew Bell and Nikhil Gujadhur (Innovation Central Perth) who all shared their advice, expertise and provided insights and case studies surrounding innovation in healthcare.
Getting Ready to Innovate
To help our participants develop the best possible solutions, and give them the tools they needed to ideate, prototype and pitch their innovations, they were provided two free mid-week training/upskilling session.
Our sponsors Amazon Web Services (AWS) kindly provided all of our teams with an AWS account so they could utilise a range of tools and services to help them with their projects. AWS solutions Architect, James Bashforth, ran an online session to introduce participants to the AWS Cloud, and taught everyone how to navigate the console for ease of use throughout the hackathon. These accounts were instrumental to the delivery of the participant’s solutions/prototypes, so thanks again to our sponsors for their support with this.
WADSIH Program Manager, Kate McGilvray also delivered a session on Human-centred Design & Data Science, ensuring our participants were on the right track to design a solution that was desirable, viable and feasible. We were also fortunate to have Dr Matthew Oldakowska and Intan Oldakowska, Directors of Perth BioDesign, deliver a session on Biodesign: From Identification to Implementation, teaching participants the tools required to go from identifying unmet clinical needs to developing innovative medtech solutions. This session also taught our participants how to properly pitch their projects to our judges, which would explain the high calibre of presentations this year!
Putting in the Weekend Work
Our teams worked tirelessly, and rapidly, over 2 days to come up with 18 fantastic solutions to the real challenges being faced by WA’s Healthcare professionals. Special thanks to Lindsay Rowe, Innovation Manager at East Metro Health Service for coaching and mentoring our teams over the weekend. On Sunday afternoon it was time to deliver their pitches to our expert judging panel – Dr Radhouane Aniba, Head of Research Data Strategy Telethon Kids Institute; Dr Jacqueline Alderson Tech Director, Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab UWA; and Dr Tracey Wilkinson Director Stakeholder Engagement WA MTPConnect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub. Our judges had the very difficult task of selecting our hackathon winners based on social impact, viability, design principles, innovation and scalability.
Drum Roll, Please
After much deliberation, and due to the high quality solutions put forward, it was decided that there would be one overall winner and 3 runners up. Such a close competition!
Congratulations to the overall winners of the WA Health Hackathon 2021 – Team 12: Brani Rusanov, Jake Kendrick and Nathanial Barry. The team’s challenge was End of life prognosis, an issue surrounding the difficulties in identifying which patients are in the last 6-12 months of their life, resulting in these patients not receiving well-coordinated, high quality palliative care. Team 12 proposed a predictive model to improve early end of life prognoses, enabling greater patient control over their treatment and vastly improving their remaining quality of life. Thank you to the Challenge Owner Dr Derek Eng, Head of Palliative Care at Royal Perth Hospital and Eva Jones, Resident Medical Officer at Royal Perth Hospital for sharing this challenge with us.
The winning team will receive AWS Platform Credits to support further development of their Hackathon project. The team will also receive coaching and mentoring from the local AWS Solution Architecture team and advisory services from AWS Professional Services.
In addition to this, Perth Biodesign Directors Intan Oldakowska and Matthew Oldakowski are offering an afternoon intensive workshop to give the winners the opportunity to learn closely from experienced biomedical engineers and entrepreneurs who have helped over a hundred budding entrepreneurs understand the commercialisation process.
Our judges couldn’t choose just one runner up, so we have 3! Well done to these teams who delivered fantastic, well designed and practical solutions:
Team 16 – Andrew Vinciguerra, Eli Simic, Mark Boon and Zhen Wang developed a solution to for Improving Sepsis Recognition challenge. Up to 25% of patients in Australian ICUs have sepsis, a disease with a startling mortality rate. Team 4 proposes a solution that enables tracking sepsis indicators from ‘Hour 0’, improving prediction, assessment & treatment time for patients. Thank you to the Challenge Owner, Dr Matthew Anstey, Intensive Care Specialist at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital for submitting this significant challenge.
Team 9 – Ivana Deng and Melissa Benson developed a solution for Using Automation to help Clinical Coding. This team proposed that by utilising automation software to gather information from existing clinical records to generate a patient’s discharge summary could help predict diagnostic codes & inform decision making. Thank you to the Challenge Owner, Francis Lee, Medical Administration Registrar at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital for allowing us to explore this challenge.
Team 14 – Qiang Sun, Qianyu Meng, Yunlong Li, Juan Lu and Yan Yi tackled the challenge of Tracking Patients of Concern. With such a high volume of patients seen by clinicians, a platform that allows easy and efficient patient-progress tracking can improve treatment and allocation of health resources. Team 14 prototyped a platform that tracks patient progress through the entire health system. Thank you to our Challenge Owner, Tim Bowles Intensive Care Unit Consultant and head of Department at Health in a Virtual Environment (HIVE) for supporting our team with this challenge.
WADSIH and the MTP Connect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub look forward to supporting any teams that wish to progress their solutions. Whilst innovating in the healthcare sector is not without its challenges, the fantastic projects put forward during WA Health Hackathon Week have highlighted the urgent need for digitisation and data-driven solutions in WA’s healthcare system. The future of health innovation in WA looks bright and we hope we can support improved outcomes in this space.