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