Five teams of nurses and technologists are winners for the innovative projects they entered in the first Nurse Hack 4 Health virtual hackathon.

sen out of 30 entries, the winning teams earned the highest scores for their solutions to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic laid out in five categories ranging from “Acute Care Patient Monitoring” to “Resiliency & Self-Care.”

Sponsored by Microsoft, John & Johnson, dev up and the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs & Leaders (SONSEIL), the entries were judged on “solutions that answer the challenge, but also do so in a way that balances simplicity with creativity.” A second criterion was the project’s readiness: “High scores will be given to solutions that are ready to deploy, provide appropriate instruction for use, etc.”

The 25 judges included practicing nurses, Microsoft’s chief nursing officer, the dean of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, software application and development firm executives, the head of Deloitte’s Healthcare Transformation team and senior executives in technology and nursing and HCP strategy at Johnson & Johnson.

All the participating team solutions that made it to the final round are open source, posted on GitHub to enable health systems and others to, as the hackathon sponsors explained, “make changes needed to fit their systems or processes.”

From DailyNurse, here is a brief look at the winners and their projects. (The links go to each team’s video presentation for the judges):

Resiliency & Self-Care category – The team developed Well Nurse a peer-to-peer app to help nurses cope with stress, connect with one another, and identify best practices to foster mental well-being.

Acute Care Patient Monitoring category — HearNow connects patients and their loved ones separated by social distancing. With this system, loved ones can transmit video and audio messages from home that nurses can share when patients are alert and in need of comfort.

Data & Reporting category – The team’s project Activate School Nurses connects h school nurses with nursing students in need of clinical experience who will assist them in preparing for school reopening and maintain and monitor student health data to reduce the danger of further outbreaks.

Patient Care Coordination category – In a busy facility, it can take time to locate needed equipment. Nurse GPS proposes to solve that challenge by tracking equipment, giving nurses the floor and room location for each device. The aim is to reduce delays and lessen the danger of infection by making it unnecessary for a nurse to leave and reenter a room multiple times.

At-Home Patient Monitoring category – Social distancing and stay at home directives are driving a boom in telemedicine. But in areas with broadband access and among groups, especially seniors, without smartphones, remote access to medical professionals is difficult or impossible. Project Flourish works around those limitations, using a 1990s era technology to broaden the reach of telemedicine in rural areas and among seniors.  

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash


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How IT Can Shed Its ‘Department of No’ Image

“Hate” might be too strong a word, yet that’s how CIO magazine chose to describe the relationship between the IT department and the rest of the business.

Headlining a lead article “4 tips for getting the business to stop hating IT,” CIO magazine said, “Long seen as back-office problem solvers and the department of ‘no,’ IT still has an image problem with business executives and users alike.”

Why that is so goes back to how IT departments and projects were organized. When technology improvements and upgrades were needed, in-house teams might take months or even years. That prompted business units to go around IT, bringing in vendors then expecting the in-house team to support the technology.

Historically, IT was positioned as a service with the rest of the company as its customer. That problem-solving approach didn’t encourage a holistic view of the organization.

“IT has been in the business of fixing problems, and when you’re only in the problem-solving business you can easily get a bad rap,” Ciena CIO Craig Williams says. “But there’s an opportunity to have a different culture.”

The IT culture and “waterfall” approach to projects is changing, if slowly. The road though, is long, says the article. To hasten the process, CIO magazine consulted IT leaders asking them what they do that’s been successful, coming up with four general tips.

  1. Think of users as colleagues, not “customers” — IT departments need to move to a product-centric model, which means taking a holistic view of the business and how the product helps the user and adds value. Says Gartner VP Suzanne Adnams, IT leaders need to “demonstrate the value they deliver, rather than the service they offer, and that’s a big difference.”
  2. Go all out to build up trust — Explains Adnams, “There has to be trust from the executive suite. They have to be able to trust the CIO to tell them what they need to hear and give them real information.” It’s important to be “curious about the business”… and it takes a willingness to listen,” the article says.
  3. Look beyond the executive suite – As important as it is to build relationships with the C-suite, it is equally essential to build trust with end-users. You do that, says CIO, by making sure the tools and information they have is what they need, and learning what it is they desire. One of the most powerful ways of building trust is when rolling out new technology. As a survey showed, the majority of IT leaders think their innovation efforts are successful. Only 41% of employees agree.
  4. Do as many types of outreach as you can – Brown bag lunches. Webinars. Internal trade shows. Lunch and learn events where IT does the learning. Do all these and more, say the experts. “The important thing is finding ways to interact and communicate that aren’t project-based and that get people from different parts of the organization together and speaking,” advises Andrew Wertkin, chief strategy officer at BlueCat Networks. “Bring that mentality to everything.”

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash


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