David Binder, MD, MBA
Director of Innovation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Medical Director, Spaulding Outpatient Center Cambridge
Vice President, Medical Staff, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Marisa Flavin, MD
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, PGY4
Dr. Flavin: So for those of us who are less tech-savvy, what exactly is a hackathon?
Dr. Binder: If you are efficiently trying to solve a problem in any industry, you need people with different skill sets. For example, to solve a problem in health care, you obviously want clinicians, but you may also want an attorney, a designer, a coder, and an engineer. In real life, getting all of these people in the same room is a difficult thing to accomplish. In a hackathon, you invite people with these different skill sets to a single location for a 1-3 day event. The goal is to identify a problem and to start thinking about a potential solution.
Dr. Flavin: Who participated in the hackathon?
Dr. Binder: We had participation from some of the engineers at MIT; we had physicians from a lot of different hospitals here in Boston, residents, physical therapists and occupational therapists, designers, and entrepreneurs. It was a really well-rounded participant pool.
Dr. Flavin: Who were the judges for the hackathon?
Dr. Binder: We had some really great judges from fairly diverse backgrounds. There was Elaine Chen from the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship; Ben Levitan who is on the board of trustees for Spaulding; David Storto, the president of Spaulding Hospital Network; Michael Muehe who is the executive director of the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities; and Amy Cueva who is the founder of Mad*Pow, a design firm in Boston. Mad*Pow was actually one of the sponsors of the hackathon. They gave us a $10,000 design award, which we gave to the team that was awarded the best design.
Dr. Flavin: So who won the hackathon?
Dr. Binder: We had 3 overall winners. The award for Best Design went to ParkAble, which is an app that allows for the identification of handicapped parking spaces. The Spaulding Innovation Award went to Magic Glove, which is a proprioceptive feedback device to aid in physical therapy. The runner-up prize went to Therapy Connect, which is a way to help facilitate communication between physical therapists and patients.
Dr. Flavin: What is the current status of the winning ideas?
Dr. Binder: All of the teams have continued communicating since the event. The team from ParkAble was actually recently awarded a $60,000 grant from the Attorney Generals Office Access and Opportunity grant program to fund continued development, integration, and implementation of the app.
Dr. Flavin: What are your plans for future hackathons?
Dr. Binder: We have our second annual Spaulding Hackathon set for Friday, October 14 and Saturday October 15, 2016. It’s a couple of weeks before the AAPM&R Annual Assembly. We are really excited because we have been able to secure the Microsoft NERD Center. NERD stands for New England Research and Development. It’s this gorgeous space right in Kendall Square, so we are really excited about that.
Dr. Flavin: That’s awesome. Thanks so much for your time.
Dr. Binder: No problem. Thank you for your interest in the hackathon and Spaulding Innovation!