Entrepreneurial Institute

Healthcare Makerthon Teams Tell Us What They Learned

The 2017 NYU Healthcare Makerthon brought together interdisciplinary teams consisting of undergraduates, postdocs, faculty, and professionals to solve pertinent issues in healthcare.  The primary goal of the Makerthon was to achieve cross-school collaboration and empower a community of entrepreneurs to design high-tech solutions that tackle needs in the healthcare sector.

Last week, the Leslie eLAB hosted the final Lessons Learned pitches, during which each team reflected on all of the progress they’ve made since their inception at the Healthcare Makerthon in early October. In case you missed it, here are the four problems the teams are working on and the entrepreneurial insights presented at the Lessons Learned.

Problem
The dietary choices children make affect their health and habits considerably. Each year, obesity affects 42 million children and puts 92 million at risk.

Meet Ogenki
Irene Yang, NYU Steinhardt: Nutrition/Public Health; Cara Jiang, NYU Steinhardt: Nutrition/Public Health; Jacky Chen, Master’s in CS; Amanda Lam, NYU Steinhardt: Applied Psychology

“We are working on an app game to help parents more effectively encourage fruit and vegetable consumption in children. The most important lesson that we’ve learned is to test assumptions because sometimes we love our ideas so much that we convince ourselves they are true even if they are not. For example, we assumed for a long time that parents didn't know what fruits and vegetables to provide to their kids, but after we asked parents, they said they know what their kids like and don’t like. So it’s important to be honest with ourselves. Our vision is to improve children’s eating habits and bring joy to them. Our next step is to design the details of our game and make MVPs.”

Problem
Wearable tech is a booming industry that can affect the way we interact with our health, wellness, and activities. Study participants found that today’s fitness trackers are difficult to calibrate, frequently lost data, and were not built with seniors having chronic conditions in mind.

Meet G-Ware
Paramjot Kaur, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Rhea Patel, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Sachin Shastri, NYU Courant Institute; Amanda Shirley, NYU Langone Medical Center

“We’re Team G-Ware, and we love grandparents!  We are creating a care coordination system focused on the geriatric population.  A main lesson we learned at this early point is to embrace pivots, and learn from those whom you desire to serve.  It truly helps form your idea into a tangible solution beyond original expectations.  You cannot make gains without understanding the pains of the community.  So, it's all about customer discovery! Our team’s vision for this startup is to effectively improve the geriatric outpatient experience and put their care providers in their shoes.  We want to develop a well-rounded picture of each individual to improve livelihood.”

Problem
Falls and infections often occur at hospitals but can be prevented with evidence-based care used by nurses. Currently, there is no way to organize nurses and hospital staff to systematically ensure that best practices are followed.

Meet HealthHuddle
Sabina Braverman, NYU Wagner: MPA Health Services Management; Kerim Davis, NYU Langone: Manager of Practice Performance Improvement & Operations; Andrew Dempsey,  NYU Tandon: MS Computer Science; Danny Silk, NYU Wagner: MPA Health Policy and Management; Sushant Thomas, NYU CAS: Biochemistry and EMT

“We are working on a product that intelligently integrates and displays vital patient information for nurses  in order to reduce the number of hospital-associated complications. From our interviews and overall experiences, we have learned success comes from  spending lots of time really getting to know the users and influencers in our target market. This ensures that our product is not based on our own assumptions, but rather truly satisfies the needs of the users. We learned that methods to reduce preventable hospital-associated complications can vary from system to system, unit to unit, and specialty to specialty. We hope that HealthHuddle will soon be able to create a working prototype that we can test with an early adopter! If we are successful, we can expand our product to helping not only nurses but also other clinicians and hospital staff.”

Problem
Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, and often occurs in children and adolescents. Patients often face depression and anxiety, which makes maintaining their necessary exercise and medicine regiment difficult.

Meet Trybe:
Daniel Wolkowitz, NYU Courant Institute: MSc Computer Science; Jason Chen, NYU Courant Institute: MSc Computer Science; Skyla Li, NYU SPS: MSc Integrated Marketing; Tingyan Huang, NYU Wagner: Health Policy and Management

“Trybe is building an app designed to help change exercise habits and behaviors through family and community support in order to increase overall well being in those with chronic illnesses. One of our most important lessons learned during the Healthcare Makerthon is that while you can drudge up a quality idea, it means nothing without validating your assumptions and making sure there is a need for your solution. While Trybe is focused on helping a very specific community (cystic fibrosis patients), our vision for Trybe includes growing and solving habit and behavior changes for other chronic illnesses and eventually for generally healthy individuals.”

At the end of the pitches, judges selected team HealthHuddle as the winner. They received guaranteed placement into InnoVention, a prototyping competition hosted by the NYU Entrepreneurship & Innovation Association and supported by the Future Labs and Tandon School of Engineering. The competition challenges student-led teams to validate, prototype, and pitch commercially viable technology ventures that solve global problems, and pays up to $50,000 in grants.

All teams will continue to work on developing their business model and product. So stay tuned!