skip to main content

Hackathon focuses on health and wellness apps

March 9, 2016

Participants at a hackathon on campus last year work on their project.
Participants at a hackathon on campus last year work on their project together.

A hackathon focused on developing apps for use on mobile devices to improve health and wellness care will be hosted by the Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Pamplin College of Business on April 7–9.

The event will be held on the Blacksburg campus, in Pamplin Hall and the studio of the Institute for Creativity,  Arts, and Technology, a co-sponsor, along with Hackers@VT, a student organization.

The event is primarily sponsored by the AT&T Developer Program, with additional support from IBM, Carilion Clinic, and Geico.

Called “Mobile Apps for Global Good in Health Care Analytics,” the hackathon seeks to tackle challenges posed by the rapidly evolving process of data collection in the health care environment.

During the hackathon, Virginia Tech students, including those at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, will work together with others on projects to analyze publicly accessible health data, identify problems and opportunities, and develop apps that can improve care, reduce costs, and enhance the patient’s overall experience.

“The hackathon can also help foster an academic, technology, and healthcare community focused on improving health and wellness care through innovation,” said Linda Oldham, executive director of the center.

“With Carilion Clinic’s participation and support, we expect that the apps will be tested, improved, and implemented in the New River Valley to enhance the health care our community receives.”

The hackathon organizers hope to draw at least 100 participants, to form approximately 20 teams, she said. Each team must have at least three members, including at least one business student and one non-business student.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

“The FDA has encouraged the development of health care apps,” Oldham said, “as they can help people manage their own health and wellness and boost data capture that can help health professionals improve the quality of care.”

A 2014 Mayo Clinic study, she said, showed that patients who used smart phone apps to record weight and blood pressure while participating in cardiac rehab lowered cardiovascular risk factors and 90-day readmissions.

The study also found that 20 percent of the app-user patients were readmitted compared to 60 percent of the non-app users.

For many patients, tracking health information is vital, she said. For example, an app linked to smart devices could deliver valuable data to health professionals, who may see the need for follow-up interventions.

Questions? Email cbia@vt.edu  

Register for the hackathon here (http://tinyurl.com/gnunlaz).