Pritzker TECH's Second Annual UChicago Healthcare Innovation Challenge

by Kevin Chung, Kendall Elue, and Matthew Bonomo MS1s

On May 3, Pritzker TECH, a tech-focused student organization at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, kicked off their 2nd annual UChicago Healthcare Innovation Challenge. The event challenged teams of students to, in twenty-four hours, develop a novel tech solution that would improve patient engagement for University of Chicago Medicine (UCM).

Ten teams of four to five students competed for cash prizes and the opportunity to further develop their healthcare solution at UCM with help from the Center of Healthcare and Delivery Sciences and Innovation (HDSI) and UCM IT. All teams included students from the Pritzker School of Medicine, Booth School of Business, and the CS department.

According to first year medical students Kevin Chung and Kendall Elue, the lead organizers for the event, the goal of the team makeup was to promote an interdisciplinary approach: “One of the many benefits of attending Pritzker is that it’s on the same campus as many other great graduate programs. We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to connect future clinicians with students from Booth, Harris, and the Department of Computer Science to work on innovating the healthcare field.”

The challenge began Friday night with an insightful keynote speech from Craig Umscheid, MD, Director of the HDSI. Dr. Umscheid spoke about the challenges of innovation in healthcare and his own journey in becoming an innovator.

Following Dr. Umscheid’s talk, teams met with patient mentors to get a better understanding of the barriers to effective patient engagement at UCM. With the guidance of their patient mentors, teams began developing their solutions and continued to work late into the night. They resumed early in the morning on Saturday, May 4. During this development phase, teams designed their solutions, conducted market analysis, and coded product demos.

Throughout the development of their solutions, teams consulted with mentors from medicine, business, and tech. Mentors included Valerie Press MD, MPH, a physician at UCM devoted to researching healthcare delivery sciences, Amanda DeMano, Executive Director for IT Strategic Programs at UCM, and David Liebovitz MD, Chief Medical Information Officer at UCM.

On Saturday night, teams presented their solution to a panel of judges. The judges included David Meltzer, MD, a renowned researcher in healthcare economics, David Beiser, MD, a physician with extensive experience in innovation in healthcare, Audre Gvildys Bagnall, MBA, chief strategy officer of University of Chicago Medicine, Heather Zheng, PhD, a computer science professor, and Allyson Hansen, MHA, the senior vice president of Ambulatory Services for UChicago Medicine.

First prize was awarded to CaREACH, who built a prototype of a system for using chatbots to reach out to patients and make sure they’re receiving the care that they need. Second place went to See Doc Sooner, a service aimed at increasing access to outpatient appointments through a novel appointment tool. Third place was awarded to Readmission Risk Reduction, a post discharge tool designed to engage patients and facilitate timely interventions.

The event was sponsored by The Polsky Center for Innovation, University of Chicago Medicine IT (UCM IT), The University of Chicago Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation (HDSI), and the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science. The lead organizers for this year’s hackathon were MS1s Kevin Chung and Kendall Elue. The organizing team also comprised MS1s Matthew Bonomo, James Fan, and Colin Wang. Dr. David Beiser served as the faculty mentor for Pritzker Tech.