Macquarie uni hackathon boosts healthcare innovation

2 March 2017

Macquarie uni hackathon

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), researchers, students and entrepreneurs joined forces for a two-day ‘Healthcare Hackathon’ at Macquarie University on 25-26 February to boost healthcare business innovation.

The NSW Government is committed to achieving real-world innovation through collaboration and the hackathon was about brainstorming breakthrough ideas in healthcare business innovation.

Under the Government's Boosting Business Innovation Program (Boost program), $12 million has been provided to 11 universities and the CSIRO - including $1 million to Macquarie University - to drive innovation through collaboration with businesses.

The Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID) is supported by the Boost program to drive innovative solutions in health and pharmaceuticals, biotech and digital technology, business and commerce.

With support by National Australia Bank (NAB), the MPID Healthcare Hackathon was the first event targeting the healthcare industry and attracted more than 80 participants from 40 organisations to network and develop new skills.

Participants were placed into teams and given exclusive access to NAB’s healthcare data to disrupt and transform the consumer healthcare industry by developing new solutions to support, empower and provide insights to health industry customers.

A judging panel including a health economist and a representative from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation awarded $6,000 in cash prizes to the winner ($3,000), runner-up ($2,000) and second runner-up ($1,000).

Winning teams were:

  • First Place: Hello World - An integrated medical billing and payment service to consolidate patient invoices into one streamlined system making it easy for consumers to track, query and make payments in the one place at the one time.
  • Second Place: Hello Mary - A chatbot application using a unique algorithm that gains insights from a person’s online presence to track and manage their healthcare needs and access, including locating specialists and booking appointments.
  • Third Place: Spirit Fingers - A web-service drawing on 3D augmented reality technology to visualise complex datasets and provide real-world context to healthcare companies and practitioners to make informed market-place decisions.

The winners will now work with the MPID Incubator to commercialise their ideas.

MPID Director John Shi-Nash said:  “The MPID Healthcare Hackathon shows what you can do when you bring people, knowledge and skills together. We’ve seen some of our brightest minds come together and collaborate to create innovative solutions to some of our greatest challenges in the healthcare space."

NAB Health General Manager Paul Littleton said the hackathon would help improve customer experience: "By combining our resources, inviting start-ups and other creative thinkers to work with us, we are looking to leverage our combined capabilities to come up with new ways of tackling problems and creating new customer solutions.”

The Boost program is enabling Macquarie University to establish an innovation cluster for Northern Sydney. The university is supporting innovation and business by bringing together SMEs, entrepreneurs, startups who want to scale up, government agencies and corporates from all areas of industry.

The Macquarie Business Innovation Centre, set to open in May 2017, will provide access to expertise, training and technical equipment and in the interim the university has opened a pop-up incubator for students, researchers and staff to work on research and ideas to be commercialised.

Learn more about the Boost program