EDSMEN PARTICIPATE IN 4TH ANNUAL CLEVELAND MEDICAL HACKATHON
Over the weekend, a select group of Edsmen participated in the 4th Annual Cleveland Medical Hackathon at the HIMSS Innovation Center at the Global Center for Health Innovation. This all-night, high-energy, problem-solving competition invited students and professionals of all levels and backgrounds with a passion for technology to develop Health IT solutions that can directly impact current healthcare challenges. The Hackathon, organized by Cleveland Clinic, Metro Health, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, BioEnterprise, HIMSS, and FlashStarts, and supported by Ashland University MBA Programs as Presenting Sponsor, was held in conjunction with Cleveland Clinic's Medical Innovation Summit. St. Edward High School, represented by Patrick Boddy '19, John Davern '20, Colin Donovan '19, John Planovsky '19 and Mr. Anthony Mortimer, Computer Science teacher and Assistant Director of Innovation, joined over 200 students, developers, designers, engineers and researchers for this year's Hackathon.
Every year, the Hackathon presents a new, designated challenge that will foster inspiration for each participant's projects. This year's challenge focused specifically on chronic disease management and social determinants of health. Unlike previous Hackathons, participants were given the concept for this year's challenge ahead of time and were allowed to bring pre-developed ideas in advance. However, the specifics of the challenge still remained a mystery until the day of the 24-hour competition. Additionally, this year's Hackathon provided better tools and equipment for participants to use throughout their project design process, including the Google Cloud platform, data from HIMSS Analytics and the Epic sandbox for testing applications. "Students learn to thrive on comfort with ambiguity," says Mr. Mortimer. "While there are general competition tracks to focus on, students need to understand a given problem and play around with ideas until a viable solution is agreed upon. This isn't a worksheet to complete or a project rubric to follow. The thrill of not knowing what you're getting yourself into is the most exciting part of a hackathon."
Edsmen were divided into two separate teams for this year's competition. Team One worked with other professionals at the Hackathon to create an application called Cognidata, a data visualization platform that provides information about mental health statistics to healthcare providers, and used freely available data sets provided by Census.govand Health Data Matters to aggregate statistics. Team Two created a virtual reality demo entitled, "In Their Shoes," which simulated a user having a panic attack, using the Unity Engine and a virtual reality headset to create a simulation from scratch. The idea behind this demo was to spread awareness about panic attacks and reduce the stigma associated with depression and anxiety. Although St. Ed's did not place in the top 3 at this year's Hackathon, participants and sponsors were still impressed by what our Edsmen were able to produce in such a short timeframe.
"A portion of participants merely produced pitches or PowerPoints. I'm proud that my students actually produced a working demo of their ideas. Mentors and judges from the Hackathon treated them like any other collegiate student or professional. My students knew they were held to the same expectations as everyone else, and in turn, it boosted their drive to show that St. Ed's students are capable of producing the same quality projects as anyone else, regardless of their advanced academic level," says Mr. Mortimer. "Technological shifts happen constantly and shiny, new electronics come and go, but the ability to adapt and thrive under new conditions will keep our students one step ahead of any challenges that come their way. The desire to constantly learn, adapt and solve problems is ultimately what will produce agile and innovative Edsmen."