Entrepreneurship

Stevens Venture Center to Hold First Digital Healthcare Hackathon

Students, Healthcare Pros and Tech Innovators Will Join Forces to Brainstorm Digital Solutions to Healthcare Issues

Photo of Adrienne Choma, director of the Stevens Venture Center
Stevens Venture Center Director Adrienne Choma

The Stevens Venture Center (SVC) will hold its first digital healthcare hackathon this fall, bringing together students and medical and technology professionals to brainstorm solutions to critical challenges in medicine.

The event, which is the first of its kind at Stevens, takes place October 6-8 on the university’s Hoboken, N.J. campus. The SVC is organizing the hackathon as part of its mission to promote the development of new technology-oriented businesses and to help build on Stevens’ culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

In an era when healthcare costs are high on the agenda for consumers, providers, insurers, employers and government officials, digital solutions can help reduce costs and improve the delivery of services, said Adrienne Choma, the director of the SVC.

The heart of the event is a series of hacking sessions in which participants from a variety of disciplines — students, industrial designers, engineers, developers and healthcare professionals — will collaborate to solve a specific healthcare issue. Hacking teams can choose to work on one of two problems: digital solutions to improve medication compliance or telemonitoring/telehealth solutions to improve patient access to diagnosis and treatment.

Pitch Competition

The hackathon culminates in a pitch competition, where teams will present their ideas to judges, who will evaluate their technological and business viability. The competition features a total of $10,000 in prizes. The weekend also includes keynote addresses by Paul von Autenried, the senior vice president and chief information officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Jarrett Bauer, the CEO of Hoboken-based Health Recovery Solutions.

Choma said she anticipates having up to 10 teams working throughout the weekend. The goal is to bring together a range of perspectives on emerging trends in digital medicine. And just maybe, one of the teams will hit on an idea that could be expanded into a business.

“Our mission involves bringing innovation and new technology to bear on society’s problems,” she said. “We could see something emerge from this hackathon that has a positive impact on the future of healthcare.”

Choma — who is organizing the event in conjunction with Premal Kamdar, a healthcare entrepreneur who recently completed a digital health innovation fellowship at the Texas Medical Center, and Vishal Kamdar of the investment banking firm Evercore — added that the hackathon is an example of Stevens’ well-known interdisciplinary approach to research and problem-solving. The SVC is being joined in running the event by the Stevens School of Business and Department of Computer Science.

In addition, eight organizations have so far signed on as sponsors: Bristol-Myers Squibb, CarePoint Health, Gibbons P.C., Greenberg Traurig, Health Recovery Solutions, Lowenstein Sandler, New Jersey Innovation Institute and Quest Diagnostics.

Those who wish to participate in the hackathon should register by September 22.