Software Development
Hackathons / Health tech

Here’s who won top prizes at the second annual Health Hack at Jefferson

More than 300 participants hacked their way toward the future of healthcare this weekend. Winners went home with more than $20,000. (Plus, there was a dinosaur.)

BTI Prosthetics makes their final pitch to the judges on Sunday. (Photo by Lian Parsons)

An augmented reality app to train amputees how to use a prosthetic and an app to test lung function for people with asthma or chronic lung diseases were among the first prize winners at this weekend’s 2016 Thomas Jefferson University Health Hack.
It was a rapid-fire weekend of Post-It notes, pitches and presentations at the second annual hackathon, sponsored by Independence Blue Cross’s Center for Health Care Innovation, Comcast, IBM and Photon.
More than 300 students, entrepreneurs, developers, designers, engineers and healthcare professionals showed up to hack solutions for the three tracks: patient engagement, connected health and virtual/augmented reality.
Philadelphia University President Steve Spinelli, who will be the chancellor of Philadelphia University and Jefferson when the two universities merge next year, announced the winners. The Health Hack, he said, “helps breed a community of innovators” and teams of people from multiple fields create “collaboration, not hierarchy.”
“There’s an increased number of ingredients to those teams,” he added. “It’s an ungraded exam on the effects of interdisciplinary work.”
Teams worked at NextFab on Saturday to build their prototypes. Mentors were also on hand to consult with the teams throughout the weekend.

Saturday night, this guy showed up:

On Sunday, the teams presented their three-minute final pitches to the judges. Pitches included a “gamified” physical therapy experience for patients by playing games like “Don’t Touch the Lava” using an Oculus Rift or similar technology to assist in their rehab progress at home and an app designed to cut down waiting time at the doctor’s office.
Two finalists and one first place winner were selected from each track. First places winners received $5,000 and finalists received $1,000 as a cash prize.
Find the winners below.


Patient Engagement

First place: Intact Birth, a perineal massager used in the second stage of labor to release tension, warms the area and prepares for delivery.


  • Safety Briefs, a pair of briefs designed to be worn as an undergarment with built-in hip airbags to prevent hip fractures.
  • Be Healthior couples online shopping sites like Amazon Prime with mail order pharmacies and links programs like Amazon Echo and Alexa to prompt patients to take their medication. The data can then be summarized and made available to providers to decrease the gap in medication compliance.

Connected health

First placePulmtracker, an app to test lung function for people with asthma or chronic lung diseases that tracks data and summarizes the information for the patient and their healthcare provider.


  • ProAct, a mobile app that detects when an Alzheimer’s patient leaves their home during a potential “wandering episode.” The app notifies a caregiver who can help move the patient to safety.
  • Smart Pump, an IV pump, channel and tubing system to prevent IV-related infections. The system would include safety alerts, hand sanitizer and software and sensors to prevent medication errors

Augmented reality/virtual reality

First place: BTI Prosthetics, an AR app for amputees to train how to use a prosthetic independently before receiving the prosthetic, reducing the learning period.


  • Team UpGoers, an augmented research interface (ARI) to interact with dense text and data. The ARI is used to summarize and analyze the relevant information from research and medical texts in a simpler way.
  • Immersive Empathy, a simulated experience of conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration so users can understand what those affected go through more fully.

Each of the first place teams expressed shock and excitement at winning.
“This product could go to market and make a difference in people’s lives,” Anna Maria Sheehan, an undergraduate nursing instructor at Jefferson and one of the team members of Intact Birth, said.
Perineal massage, which Intact Birth provides, is a step usually done by the delivery team during labor, but it can get left out, added Marissa Heller, a second year occupational therapy student at Jefferson.
Charlie Li, a senior majoring in computer science at Penn State, designed the product prototype and despite it being “crude,” it ended up “simulating exactly what we wanted,” Sheehan said.
Mihir Sheth and Steve Selverian, both medical students at Jefferson, said they’re hoping to roll out PulmHealth internally to test its effectiveness after the code is written and formulated.
Sheth added that added perspectives from the judges and mentors helped “give insight into the business world which, as med students, we don’t get to see at all.”
BTI Prosthetics also has a plan to move forward with their project.
The team hopes to connect with the people it met during the weekend, obtain a research grant and “see it through until the end,” former NASA intern James McGall said.
The other two members of the team also have connections to help move the process along. Diane Humbrecht is the chief nursing informatics officer at Abington Health and hopes to leverage the innovator support there, and Matthew Carr is a second year medical student at Jefferson.
Rose Ritts, executive vice president of innovation at Jefferson, said it was “mind blowing” to watch the teams work in real time.
“It opened up minds of what was possible in a short period of time,” she said. “Constantly circling around is the [people from] different skill sets pulling themselves into the different boundaries of what they can do to impact patients’ lives.”

Companies: Philadelphia University

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