ReelDx at Tufts MedStart 2015

While the majority of Boston was digging out from #snowmaggedon2015 a group of brave developers, business leaders, innovators, and med students gathered at Tufts University to participate in MedStart 2015 (@MedStart_Tufts); an annual hackathon dedicated to tackling relevant issues in the medical technology sector. This years theme was Reinvent MedEd (#reinventmeded); I was happy to be invited to present and mentor various teams as they came up with innovative solutions to pressing issues in medical education.

The event kicked off with a mix of medical professionals framing several key issues in medical education and medicine in general; some interesting take aways:

26.2% of people looking for health information have been asked to pay for it; just 2% agreed to do so.  52 million Americans have used to the internet to find health information. 
Rohit Khanna, CEO of Catalytic Health

Google Glass changes medical outcomes 10% of the time
Dr. Steve Schwaitzberg, Chief of Surgery at Cambridge Health Alliance

A recent survey says 70% of patients would prefer a video interaction with a doctor instead of in-person.
Alisa Niksch, Pediatric Electrophysiologist and Medical Technology Investigator

In addition to medical professionals, a handful of innovators  including Osmosis, ThamlicLabs Myo Armband, Oculus Rift, IBM Watson, and, yes, ReelDx  were invited to make their technology available for participants.

This mix of current issues, innovative technologies, and creativity led the participants to first propose a series of problems they would like to solve. From there teams of four to six that spanned a variety of disciplines were formed ad-hoc. Teams latched onto an issue relevant to them and got to work. Some of the issues addressed included:

  • Utilizing Myo armband to provide feedback for learning intubation.
  • Create a web-based system for parents to use as a communication and intervention tool, for use across agencies and across disciplines.
  • Utilize virtual reality to walk clinicians through scenarios that test their skills in responding to patients and colleagues in stressful situations; the goal being to solve the problem of inappropriate interactions in medical settings.

Over the next 36 hours teams built, demoed, pitched, and were ultimately judged on their creations. During this process they interacted with various mentors, refined their concept, and worked towards the ultimate goal of reinventing medical education. As I worked closely with several teams I was blown away by the creativity and passion everyone had for their chosen project. Seeing an idea turn from concept to reality in less than 2 days was something to behold.

Congratulations go to team SimVR for their first place finish in the hackathon.

Our entire industry can benefit by participating in and paying attention to events like MedStart. By standing back and looking at the core issues we face every day, and then collaborating with those outside of our usual tech / business / educational circles, we can find relevant and timely solutions to problems that sometimes see insurmountable. The future of medicine is taking shape 36 hours at a time; it’s up to us to be involved.


1 Comment

Angela Robert

February 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

Great blog Andrew!

Here’s a blog ( I wrote about my experience on the winning team. I should have gave a mention to you as well as you were really helpful as a mentor and fellow trailblazer in the world of Video Content in Medical Education.

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