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World’s largest Health Hackathon seeks solutions to healthcare challenges in KSA

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Time: December 02, 2018  

Healthcare challenges

RIYADH — More than 1,000 young Saudi hackers – comprising clinicians, engineers, scientists, designers and entrepreneurs – participated at the Convention Center at Princess Noura University in Riyadh on Thursday at the world’s largest health hackathon.

Organized by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) with support from Badir Program for Technology Incubators and Accelerators, and in collaboration with MIT Hacking Medicine, the three-day hackathon, titled “Reimagining Healthcare in Saudi Arabia», saw 1,000 hackers compete in 10 different healthcare challenges to advance the design of biomedical technologies toward meeting a target of over 20 biotech startups. The winners were announced at the end of the competition.

“Aligned with the Saudi Ministry of Health’s Model of Care, the healthcare challenges, ranging from – blockchain and AI for health, cancer innovation track, and assistive technology and ageing – are aimed to energize and connect the best talents across the health ecosystem in the health and technology sectors to solve the healthcare’s biggest challenges and teach healthcare entrepreneurship and digital strategies to scale medicine in the Kingdom,”said Dr. Anas Alfaris, Vice President for Research Institutes at KACST during his opening speech at the hackathon.

He emphasized that the hackathon will help instill the culture of creativity and innovation in the field of digital health among Saudi youth who will compete to generate new ideas that will improve and enhance the medical services and level of healthcare in the Kingdom.

Healthcare has been identified as one of the primary focus areas under the Saudi Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program 2020 in order to enhance the quality of healthcare services and facilities in the country.

“It is our privilege to host the world’s largest health hackathon in Saudi Arabia. The program will offer a collaborative environment for the best and brilliant minds to be a part of an exciting and inspiring event that will impact the way healthcare is delivered to millions of people in Saudi Arabia and across the globe,” said Nawaf Al Sahhaf, Chief Executive Officer of the Badir Program for Technology Incubators and Accelerators.

Since its inception in 2011, MIT Hacking Medicine has facilitated nearly 150 hackathons across over 30 countries. Teams coming out of these events have successfully joined local accelerators, raising over $175 million in investment funding, and partnering with healthcare institutions or companies towards piloting their solutions.

MIT Hacking Medicine has previously collaborated with leading organizations and corporations such as The Kauffman Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital, Emergency Nurses Association, Pfizer, Microsoft, Samsung, GE, Merck, and AthenaHealth. The winners are:

Track 1: Mental Health Hackathon

1st prize:

MindTreat – A mobile application utilizing gamification to treat and support with mood and anxiety disorders.

2nd prize:

InTouch – An interactive mobile application with a treatment experience for Saudi Arabian patients with depression.

Track 2: Brain Health Hackathon

1st prize:

Alpha Crew – Brain scanning headset using deep learning and image recognition techniques to detect epileptic seizures in hospitals.

2nd prize:

Mobile Eng for Non-Professionals – A mobile application to help patients with physical therapy while on the go.

Track 3: Connected Healthcare

1st prize:

Harara-tech: A thermal-imaging system that uses artificial intelligence to intelligently evaluate and direct treatment for victims after large-scale disasters.

2nd prize:

Dream Team: An augmented Reality educational toolset for physical therapists that uses realistic human mannequins to simulate the real-life training experiences.

Track 4: Assistive Technologies and Reimagining Aging

1st prize:

Asfih – 3D printed glasses that allow patients with ALS speak for little money, effort and time.

2nd prize

: Lyxar – An Arabic mobile application for dyslexia patients that utilizes games to effectively screen, train, and assist them with diagnosis and treatment.

Track 5: Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare and Forensic Science

1st prize:

Med Chain – Using blockchain and artificial intelligence systems to match patients with applicable clinical trials.

2nd prize:

Tawthiq – Authenticating certificate of healthcare workers on the blockchain, issued direct from their university to blockchain yielding instantaneous authentication.

Track 6: Data Science for Global Health

1st Prize:

Population Sigmentation – A personalized mobile application to help at-risk patients get screened for heart disease.

2nd Prize:

Icebridge Crusheres/ Autism – A mobile application helping with scheduling and long wait times in diabetic clinics.

Track 7: Wearable Devices for Healthcare

1st prize:

A portable device that will enable blind people to read normal books.

2nd prize:

Mask Lung-infection Detector – A mask that helps prevent lung infection due to increased crowds, by detecting metabolites in the breath and informing patients of oncoming infections.

Track 8: Cancer Innovation Challenge

1st prize:

Oncoscrapper – An application for hospitalized children with treatment resistant leukemia that uses gamification to incentivize patients to undergo chemotherapy medication.

2nd prize:

Endue – Patient-centric decision assisting tool to better inform the patient of the reasoning behind the provider’s treatment decisions.

Track 9: Human Centered Design for Health

1st prize:

Elda – An application providing caregivers support in aiding for their loved elderly patients so that caregivers don’t have to take patients to the hospital.

2nd prize:

HKMMA Smart Shoe – A smart shoe for diabetic foot monitoring that detect of the early onset of diabetic foot, preventing amputation.

Track 10: Dental Track: Challenging Oral Care

1st prize:

Infra-Red Guide x-ray – An infra-red device attached to the x-ray image holder to enhance the position of the x-ray sensor

2nd prize: Intra-Oral clip – An intra oral clip made to deliver medication over prolonged periods of time.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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