Case Study

Crowdsourcing digital solutions for affordable healthcare through hackathons

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare was on a mission to provide affordable healthcare to the masses. Having identified the problems and key areas of innovation, GE followed an interesting approach of crowdsourcing digital solutions through hackathons.


Provide high-quality, affordable technology to the people who need it the most


Rural India


Three major problems


Collaborating with developers through hackathons

What’s GE's story?

For the past two decades, GE Healthcare has been innovating to enhance affordability and access to healthcare solutions in India.

GE Healthcare focuses on early, pre-symptomatic disease detection and prevention—as against late diagnosis—thus helping clinicians access more information and intervene sooner with targeted treatment.


Crowdsource innovative digital solutions for affordable healthcare technology

Crowdsourcing hackathon as a solution

GE Healthcare partnered with HackerEarth with the clear vision of collaborating with the developer community to develop affordable, digital healthcare solutions.


The three themes for this hackathon were based on specific problems the Indian rural healthcare sector faces.

Hackathon Theme 1: Video Content Analytics (VCA) system

Problem 1

  • Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are a high-cost, high-demand, and high-risk setting
  • Variance in care delivery is very high
  • There is a short supply of intensivists and experienced critical-care nurses

Possible solution

  • Remote/tele-ICUs with a central command center that is capable of providing support to patients in distant ICUs

Hackathon goal 1

  • Develop a comprehensive Video Content Analytics (VCA) system to be integrated with a tele-ICU
  • For example, the zoom and pan function of a camera will allow clinicians to check the status of patients by examining          the pupil size, skin color, and mental status remotely

Hackathon Theme 2: Contextual training platform

Problem 2

  • Unavailability of qualified and experienced healthcare providers in rural areas
  • New graduates with very little experience in Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) in India
  • Lack of quality and speed of healthcare delivery

Possible solution

  • Provide contextual training to the clinicians at PHCs

Hackathon goal 2

  • Develop a contextual learning platform that will allow the care providers to learn from the patients they treat

Hackathon Theme 3: Contextual care protocols

Problem 3

  • Lack of quality maternal care in rural areas
  • Ill-equipped PHCs that provide minimal treatment
  • Patients often referred to general hospitals at distant locations
  • Medical conditions such as anemia, postpartum hemorrhage, etc. are not detected early

Possible solution

  • Provide contextual care protocols to the clinicians at PHCs

Hackathon goal 3

  • Develop a standard protocol that can be enhanced contextually as doctors in PHCs use it

What was the outcome?

Online Idea Submission

632 participants

371 teams

3 winners

Offline Hackathon

55 teams

37 apps & prototypes built

Winning projects

Project 1

An application based on Video Content Analytics (VCA) that captures faces and movements of patients to identify emotions from facial expressions

Project 2

A mobile-based application for clinicians to navigate the decision tree (specific to patients) based on

  • Medical history
  • Stored record of medical conditions

It allows doctors to follow the protocols and provide recommendations from external sources such as the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM).

Project 3

A vision-based, patient-monitoring system to address the following:

  • Facial recognition
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Smart detection of uneasy movement
  • Emotion detection

What next?

The Grand Finale was held on April 2017.

The three winning teams worked with GE to develop their ideas further and build a fully-functional prototype. The winning team was awarded a cash prize of $6000.

GE would provide the winning solution as part of its affordable healthcare technology to the people who need it the most.

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