2014 Stop Ebola Hack-a-thon

December 13-14, 2014 | Boston

The “Stop Ebola” Hack-a-thon assembled 120+ clinicians, engineers and entrepreneurs with the challenge of finding new solutions to pressing care and delivery challenges within Ebola Treatment Units. The event included 35 multidisciplinary mentors and over 45 organizations from across the United States and West Africa.

MGH Global Disaster Response and International Medical Corps (IMC) partnered with CAMTech to host the event, which led to n 17 new potential solutions. These ranged from an ultra-low cost means for detecting veins in an Ebola patient to a readily visible sweatband that monitors dehydration of both patients and health workers. The innovative ideas were presented to a panel of judges with expertise in infectious diseases, engineering, frontline treatment of Ebola, and humanitarian response.

The innovative ideas were presented to a panel of judges with expertise in infectious diseases, engineering, frontline treatment of Ebola, and humanitarian response.

Clinical Challenges

Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Fatigue in the ETU are a danger to health care workers providing care Theme: PreventionStaff members wear heavy and hot personal protective equipment when doing patient care and are at risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion and fatigue and at risk for fainting while at work. It is very easy to lose track of time and self when working. Are there interventions to help monitor HCW’s as they work in full PPE to help mitigate this risk?
Human and medical waste is dangerous. Theme: PreventionCopious human waste makes handling it both time consuming and dangerous during limited time in the high-risk zone. Can we handle it and/or prepare for incineration easier?
Laboratory work is difficult to do in these settings due to limited resources. Theme: DiagnosisLibratory work for Ebola requires strict safety and containment protocols which can limit the number of labs and their location. Often blood samples need to be transported to a lab that has the protocols in place. Could testing be in a closed loop system or with no requirement for blood? Can handling of samples be safer?
Blood draws are difficult to do safely in full PPE, including finger sticks. Theme: DiagnosisCurrently Ebola is diagnosed via a blood test on day three of fever and patient monitoring may require lab tests. Blood draws are dangerous as they person doing the draw is in full PPE making it difficult to work. Could testing be done without requiring a blood draw? Is there a way to automate blood draws so a person would not have to handle the needle?
Patient monitoring is limited. Theme: TreatmentAll equipment that is used needs to be able to withstand a thorough disinfection process and function in high heat and humidity environments. Also, all physical contact with the patient is limited due to the PPE. Due to these reasons monitoring of patients is limited to time evaluated by a health care worker and requires time and effort. Virtual or distant monitoring would allow for more frequent monitoring and would free the HCW up to spend their time in the high risk zone on more direct patient care activities.
Data exchange is difficult. Theme: TreatmentPaper/computers cannot be taken out of the high risk zone and this makes data transfer difficulty. Simple “white boards” are often used. Records are often buried with dying patients. Information needs to be exchanged from the high-risk zone to the low-risk zone to maintain patient charts, epidemiologic data, and care records without contamination and with ease.
Patients in isolation are alone and afraid, particularly children whose families may themselves be ill. Theme: TreatmentLimited contact makes social comforting of patients, especially children, limited. It is difficult to understand for children and heart wrenching for families and providers.

Day 1, Saturday, 13th Dec

8:00 AM
Registration Opens
8:00-9:00 am
Breakfast Registration
9:00-10:30 am
Opening Remarks
Dr. David Bangsberg – Director, Center for Global Health at MGH
Ms. Elizabeth Bailey – Director, CAMTech at the Center for Global Health, MGH
Dr. Hilarie Cranmer – Director, Global Disaster Response at the Center for Global Health, MGH
Dr. Rabih Torbay – Senior Vice President, International Operations at International Medical Corps
Keynote Speakers
A Day in the Life at an Ebola Treatment Center in Liberia by Debbie Wilson, RN – Frontline Healthcare Provider in Liberia & IV infusion therapist at Berkshire Visiting Nurses Association
Technology and Process Gaps in Ebola Care  by Dr. Michael Callahan  – Command Physician, Rescue Medicine in Abuja, Nigeria & Clinical Associate Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases at MGH
Demo of challenges experienced in Ebola care in the frontline by Dr. Miriam Aschkenasy – Deputy Director of Global Disaster Response at Center for Global Health & ER Physician at MGH & Dr. Sadeq A. Quraishi – Intensive Care Physician & MGH Domestic Ebola Response Team member
User Design & Rapid Prototyping by Ms.Elizabeth Johansen – Product Development Consultant & Director of Product Development at Design that Matters
10:30-11:00 am
Hack-a-thon 101 by Dr. Kris Olson, Medical Director of CAMTech at Center for Global Health, MGH & Dr. Ayesha Khalid, Healthcare Innovation Enthusiast & Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School & MIT Hacking Medicine Member
11:00-12:30 pm
Pitching & Pitch Registration (60-Second Pitches)
12:30 PM
Hack Store Opens / Mentor Orientation
12:30-1:00 pm
1:00-3:00 pm
3:00 PM
Team Sign Up
3:00-6:00 pm
6:00 PM
Dinner Hack Store Closes (Participants are welcome to hack overnight.)

Day 2, Sunday, 14th Dec

9:00-10:00 am
Hacking / Hack Store Opens
10:00 AM
Practice Pitch Sign Up
11:00 am-1:00 pm
Practice Pitching with Mentors
12:00-1:00 pm
1:30 PM
Final Team Sign Up & Submission of Presentations
2:00 PM
Hack Store Closes
2:00-4:00 pm
Final Presentations
4:00-4:30 pm
Feedback Session with Ms. Smitha Gudapakkam – Business Development Manager, CAMTech at Center for Global Health, MGH
Judges Deliberation
4:30-5:00 pm
Announcement of Awardees
5:00-5:30 pm
Closing Remarks

Check out the Winners!

Judges awarded several prizes, including:

  • The MGH Innovation Prize: The RESCUE Team won for its optimized Ebola Treatment Unit that is mobile, scalable and can integrate culturally sensitive infection control and training methods in rural settings.
  • The Medtronic Foundation Prize – For the most implementable innovation that specifically addressed IMC’s Ebola treatment challenges in the field : The ProxiMe Team won this prize for their voice-controlled bracelet that, with low power and no internet, can monitor heart rate and temperature as well as alarm health care workers of potential problems.