UBMD team granted $15,000 at D’Youville Healthcare Hackathon

Team Journey wins competition with microservices platform

UBMD’s team Journey won D’Youville’s Healthcare Hackathon Competition on Friday, Sept. 27.

The Hackathon was a two-day, multi-round event which asked teams to “solve real world problems” in healthcare. Journey members –– Suakshay Bahal, UB management information systems student, Vito Galvez, UB computer science student, Ashley Levine, UBMD general surgery resident, Megha Shirodkar, UB management information systems student, Brian Quaranto UBMD general surgery resident and Colin Allen, RIT software engineering student –– created a microservices platform which will allow patients and families to track medical care experiences, progress of surgeries, patient’s location and receive live updates on status changes. The app helped Journey become a finalist in round one, earning $10,000, and the overall Hackathon winner, earning an additional $5,000 to further research and implement their project.

Team Journey with the two winning checks for a combined $15,000

Levine said she first got the idea for TrackOR –– one element of Journey’s project –– in her Innovators in Health Care class, when tasked with applying other areas of specialty to problems she faces.

“I was thinking about airlines and how good airlines are at keeping people informed of
when their flight comes and goes. So I was like, ‘Man, why is that not a thing for the operating room?’” Levine said. “Why is it not possible to see before you come in whether or not your surgery, or your ‘flight,’ was on time or delayed?”

Quaranto said the app brings together various concepts to help improve patients’ overall OR experience.

“The issue is there’s all these tiny concepts that would move the needle in a big way for
patients,” Quaranto said. “And we had this idea storming session where we had a whole bunch of [ideas] and none of them individually seemed like strong enough candidates to pursue direct competitors already in the market. But what would work… was to come up with an idea that allows a lot of the smaller ideas to become integrated, and then to allow purchasers to just pick whichever ones they want.”

Levine said the team spent roughly eight hours of the first Hackathon day “idea storming” before finalizing the winning project.

The $15,000 prize will help the team to work on software for the app and further develop the system before they can place the product in patients’ and surgeons’ hands.

Once the app is on the market, it will no doubt alleviate the stresses of patients and their
families alike.

“The TrackOR is really valuable in the preoperative phase for the patients’ families. And
then while their loved ones are being operated on, the real value is there while they’re under the knife,” Quaranto said. “Then afterwards there’s a complicated, long postoperative course. … And that’s the idea, that this whole operative course is a journey.”

JACKLYN WALTERS – Health Journalist

Dr. Chelsea Hoenes Presents at 78th Annual Meeting of The American Association for Surgery of Trauma

Dr. Hoenes at AAST
Dr. Chelsea Hoenes Presents at 78th Annual Meeting of The American Association for Surgery of Trauma


Chelsea Hoenes MD, Joshua K. Burk MD, Kabir Jalal Ph.D, Jeffery M. Jordan MD, Ph.D, University at Buffalo, SUNY


Patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) require intubation to ensure adequate oxygenation, and many progress to tracheostomy. However, tracheostomy timing is controversial. We have previously demonstrated that, in our institution, a lower incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia in sTBI patients receiving early tracheostomy. Therefore, we sought to extend our results by evluating the American College of Surgeons Tauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) database to determine if an association between tracheostomy timing and development of ventilator-associated pnemonia exists.


The 2015 data from the TQIP was accessed and 5,662,524 patients were screened for inclusion in our retrospective analysis. Patients included in the analysis were those in whom tracheostomy was performed, had an isolated, sTBI, and those ultimately developing ventilator-associated pneumonia. Patients were matched by age and injury severity score. Fischer’s exact and multivariate analyses were used to observe the rate of pneumonia in TBI, the rate of tracheostomy in TBI, and impact of tracheostomy timing on the development of pneumonia. Hospital length of stay, number of days on a ventilator, and ICU length of stay were analyzed using a multivariate analysis.


A total of 4,045 patients met the inclusion criteria for our analysis. Five-hundred-sixty patients received tracheostomy by day 3 of their hospital stay (mean 1.15, SD 1.06) and 3,485 after day 3 (mean 10.44, SD 6.03). There were no statistically significant differences in age, ISS, respiratory rate, or oxygen saturation between the two groups. Early tracheostomy was associated with a rate of pneumonia of 10.23 (CI 7.86-13.02) compared to 21.49 (CI 20.15-22.88) in patients receiving trach after day 3 (OR 2.624, p-value 0.02).


Early tracheostomy was associated with a significant decrease in the rate of pneumonia in patients with severe traumatic brain injury. Future prospective studies are needed to validate the impact of early tracheostomy on patient morbidity and mortality in severe traumatic brain injury.

Thank You Dr. Nancy Perrier!

The UB Department of Surgery would like to give special thanks to Dr. Nancy Perrier for coming to Buffalo last week to present at our annual Winfield Butsch Lecture.

Nancy Perrier, MD, FACS is a Surgical Oncologist and tenured and endowed Professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston TX. She completed her surgical training at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and fellowship training in both Endocrine Surgical Oncology and Outcomes Based Research in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. She was a National Institute of Health funded T32 research fellow. She is a graduate of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, with a certificate in Health Care Management as well as the Harvard Business School – Value Measurement for Health Care Executive Education program. Dr. Perrier has had a career interest in endocrine neoplasms. Her scholarly works, of more than 340 publications and 42 book chapters, range from safe implementation of new medical technology to value based cost of care. She currently serves as a Director on the American Board of Surgery which provides oversight of more than 30,000 surgeons with regard to training, certification and professionalism policies governing surgery in the United States. Regarded as an expert, Dr. Perrier serves in multiple capacities at MD Anderson including Director of Value for the Division of Surgery, Section Chief and medical director. Nationally, her influence extends across multiple societies and organizations including senior authorship of guidelines for care and lead editing of the American Joint Commission on Cancer 8th Edition Manual for staging of cancers. She is highly regarded for her clinical excellence, integrity, initiative, effectiveness and as a consummate leader for her peers.

First Annual Heart of Gold Gala

The UB Association of Women Surgeons and The UB Department of Surgery will be hosting our First Annual Heart of Gold Gala.

As part of an initiative to give back to the community we serve we have organized this annual event to raise funds for local charities. This year all proceeds will benefit The Haven House of Buffalo. This is a wonderful local organization that helps victims of domestic violence with leaving their situation, creating a new life, and the healing process. They provide plans, counseling, therapy, and temporary housing for victims and their families. This group helps so many men, women, and children in Buffalo every year. They really are a great example of an organization that helps to better this city and strengthen the community. We pride ourselves on being the City of Good Neighbors, and they truly embody that motto.

Fundraising will take part online over the next six weeks and will culminate in a black tie affair at the lovely Lafayette Hotel. This evening will include socializing with a diverse group of Buffalo professionals, food, open bar, live music, and dance performances. As part of the event we will also be hosting a silent auction. We are asking donors to contribute either a luxury item that can be auctioned on the evening of the Gala or alcoholic beverages to enhance the merriment of the evening. We will happily accept fiscal donations in lieu of an auction item. All donors will be recognized for their contributions. All charitable donations are tax deductible. Above all we would love to see you and your friends at the event! ​

Tickets and the opportunity to donate will be available online this Friday!