Crowdsourcing digital solutions for affordable healthcare through hackathons

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

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What’s their 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.

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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 3 themes for this hackathon were based on specific problems that are faced in the Indian rural healthcare sector.

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
  • 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 health-care providers in rural areas
  • Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) in India are filled with fresh graduates with very little experience
  • Hinders quality and speed of health-care 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 who are being treated by them

Hackathon Theme 3: Contextual care protocols

Problem 3

  • Lack of quality maternal care in rural areas
  • PHCs are ill-equipped and provide minimal treatment
  • Patients are 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

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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 the 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 next stage is the Grand Finale that will be held on April 2017.

The 3 winning teams will work with GE to develop their ideas further and build a fully-functional prototype. The winning team will be awarded a cash prize of $6000.

GE will provide the winning solution as a part of their affordable healthcare technology to the people who need it the most.

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