Standing Out at a Healthcare-Focused Hackathon

by Haseeb Mohammed on August 26, 2021

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At Polaris, our mission is to bring the joy of successful software projects to everyone, including healthcare leaders who have faced a challenging time during COVID-19. As outlined in our post on the value of Agile in healthcare, we take pride in understanding and responding to the unique needs of this industry–from new regulations to rapidly changing safety protocols to complex legacy systems. 

In addition to directly supporting our partners in the health and wellness space, we were recently tapped by Microsoft to join for the inaugural Tech Serum event, a one-weekend healthcare hackathon. Tech Serum brought together teams of medical experts, pharmaceutical marketing professionals, and developers like myself to imagine solutions. My team’s industry guests were Dr. Juliet Wolford, a gynecologic oncologist at the University of Cincinnati, and Dr. Alex So, a CS PhD and Associate Director at Merck Group who logged in from Shanghai.  

Read on to learn how I was able to leverage my experience designing software solutions for healthcare, Polaris’ standard for successful projects (always on time and done right the first time), and the expertise of Drs. Wolford and So to bring home an award at Tech Serum 2021 

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The Problem: Fake Doctors. Real Potential. 

As is often the case with hackathons, our team started with one idea Friday afternoon that got scrapped by Saturday morning. At that point, Dr. Wolford had another idea, inspired by how she communicates with other doctors within her specialty in a Facebook group. I come from a family of doctors and nurses, and they all have similar networks they turn to for special cases and when they need a second opinion (spoiler: this became the name of our app).   

Communication between specialists is great, because it can expedite disease diagnosis. However, we identified this as an area to improve. Facebook is full of fake profiles and fringe doctors. Unless you actually know the person you’re asking, you can’t even verify they’re a licensed medical doctor. Plus, when you answer questions from others under your name, you’re opening yourself up to legal repercussions if your medical advice causes harm.

 

Our Solution: Second Opinion 

Enter Second Opinion™, the app that empowers doctors to talk to other verified doctors, anonymously. In our concept, the registration process uses Doximity or other similar API to verify a user at signup. From there, an Office of Inspector General check is run to ensure they’re not currently being sued and don’t have any red flags in their history. Next, the app generates their username and a profile that displays their specialty, with an indication of where they’re at in their career. 

 

The unique selling proposition of the app is this stringent verification process. From there, the app works like Twitter, Reddit, or Facebook with feeds, hashtags, and notifications. It brings together the vetting power of Doximity, the professionalism of LinkedIn, the anonymity of Blind, and more. AI and natural language processing (NLP) can be layered in to help categorize the questions and enforce HIPAA and protected healthcare info moderation.  
 
Our team felt good about our doctor-to-doctor Tech Serum solution and our ability to arrive at it quickly. “As I was brainstorming ideas, the developer was putting together code,” Dr. Wolford reflected to The Whyse. “I was so surprised with how quickly he was able to put something together. As a clinician, I don’t often get to see the technical side and it was interesting to see it come together so quickly by people who are invested in an idea.” 

The true test, of course, came when we pitched Second Opinion™ to the judges–a panel made up of representatives from Truth Serum NTWK™, MJH Life Sciences™, Microsoft, and renowned independent healthcare entrepreneurs and leaders. They awarded us with a certificate of excellence for ‘Most Creative’. 

Whether your organization is looking to make an impact in healthcare or another industry, prioritizing innovation in your products and services can keep you one step ahead of your competition. If you're looking for modern software solutions in healthcare, finance, insurance, and beyond, reach out today for creative solutions to your most critical challenges and business priorities. 

 


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Topics: software development