Keeping patients healthy and out of hospitals goal of Yale hackathon

Doctors, patients, insurance companies, and other health-care stakeholders often ponder about how best to promote recovery and reduce readmissions of hospital patients.

Now a diverse group will gather at Yale starting March 27 to spend a weekend coming up with answers to these questions at a hackathon sponsored by Yale Center for Biomedical and Interventional Technology (CBIT) and the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE).

The hackathon, an event where numerous people meet and engage in collaborative computer programming, is an initiative of CBIT and CORE in partnership with the University of Connecticut.

“Efforts to improve the patient experience have touched on multiple domains including emphasizing patient-centered care, creating a healing environment, providing excellent customer service, and improving care transitions and patient education” said Emily Bucholz, one of the lead organizers of the event and a M.D./Ph.D. candidate at CORE. “Recognizing the importance of the patient experience and its impact on recovery, we wanted to focus on identifying better tools and strategies to address patients’ physical, emotional, and informational needs in order to improve recovery and keep patients healthy.”

The 2015 CBIT-CORE Hackathon: Improving the Patient Experience and Reducing Readmissions is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday, March 27 and will continue to run throughout the weekend until 3 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

This is the first major event of its kind bringing together academic institutions and leading healthcare organizations across Connecticut for a weekend of innovation that has previously been more associated with places like Silicon Valley and Cambridge.

This year’s hackathon will consist of two tracks: the Patient Experience Hackathon and the Readmissions Data Marathon. The Hackathon component will focus on developing innovative tools and strategies for improving patient experiences in and out of the hospital in order to promote recovery. The Data Marathon component will challenge data scientists to formulate better risk prediction models that utilize novel techniques and take into account the full complexity of readmissions.

“Part of keeping patients healthy is the ability to recognize those who are at highest risk of adverse events. Much attention has been given to predicting preventable readmissions as these can be a marker of care quality or post-discharge follow-up,” Bucholz notes. “However, our methods for predicting who will be readmitted are rudimentary and do not adequately risk-stratify patients. In order to better target interventions to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, we need better risk prediction models for readmission. This is why we decided to focus the data marathon on readmissions.”

Over 120 students and professionals from Yale, UConn, and throughout Connecticut will assemble from various backgrounds including medicine, public health, engineering, computer science, statistics, bioinformatics, business, and design. Speakers and participants will outline problems of the current healthcare system, form interdisciplinary teams, and work together throughout the weekend to build prototypes, apps, services, and other platforms with a common goal to bring positive change to the patient experience and a reduction in hospital readmissions. Industry leading mentors will join and support teams toward the creation of sustainable and successful ventures.

For more information, visit the hackathon website. For information about the event’s schedule (including what parts are open to the public), visit the schedule page.

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