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Claire Bonaci: The World Health Organization designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife to raise awareness of nurses and midwives significant and varied roles in healthcare. On May 15, Johnson and Johnson, Sonsiel, Dev Up and Microsoft partner to host NurseHack4Health, giving nurses and clinicians an opportunity to define new ways to save lives. Today, Molly McCarthy talks with the winners of the hackathon about their solutions.


Molly McCarthy: Well, welcome. I’m so excited to be sitting here today with Team 26 from the NurseHack4Health. Molly and RoseMarie to talk a little bit more about their solution, their winning solution in the remote patient monitoring in the acute care setting category for the Tech Challenge. So we’ll start with you Molly, can you tell me a little bit more about yourself? And was this your first hackathon?


Molly Higgins: Yes, thank you so much for having us. My name is Molly Higgins. I’m a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital and I’m a nurse on the bone marrow transplant unit, the hematology oncology unit there. And this was actually my second hackathon, I was able to attend the one at the Johnson and Johnson hackathon last November. And so this I was able to I mean, that was a wonderful experience and inspiring as always, so I really wanted to make an effort to attend this one as well.


Molly McCarthy: Right? How about you Rose Marie?


Rose Marie: Hi. Yes. Um, so I’m an registered nurse and emergency department in New York City. And I had the pleasure of being at a previous hackathon as well. So this is my second official hackathon, but first virtual hackathon.


Molly McCarthy: Right. Well, we talked a little bit about this already, but I’m just curious what motivated you this time to join the hackathon with your colleagues?


Molly Higgins : You know what I think with this one, it just seemed, you know what the times COVID-19 being new and also in realizing how many, how many problems associated with that, and how many solutions there needed to be, it seemed now more than ever, it was a time for everyone needing to come together and figure out solutions and, and share the common problems that nurses and you know, other healthcare professionals are, are experiencing to really try to bring forth solutions to these problems. And I think more than ever, this was extremely time sensitive, where we need to come up with these solutions quickly and implement them in order to truly make a difference in as quick as possible.


Molly McCarthy: Great. And what about you, RoseMarie?


Rose Marie: Yes, exactly what Molly stated. And in addition, I think that this time has really looked to and embrace the nursing profession and how we contribute to health promotion and just helping others in times of need compelled to partake in a virtual hackathon being that we couldn’t even meet in person. And it just, it just really puts more emphasis on helping and just coming together in a time of crisis more urgently than anything else that it took priority for me.


Molly McCarthy: Right. Good. Well, that’s great. I’m so glad you both, obviously, were part of this. And so let’s talk a little bit more about the the solution. I had the pleasure of actually being a judge for this particular area, the remote patient monitoring. So Molly, can you tell us a little bit more about how the team connected and how you came up with the solution and really what the solution is.


Molly Higgins: So I think when initially looking at all the different teams, and the idea ideas that were there, I was looking for something that just for my own experience working on a bone marrow transplant unit. It’s not that we don’t we actually don’t take care of the the COVID positive patients, but our patients are affected in a way that they can’t have their family members, they can’t have visitors come to the unit. So it was really this isolation piece for the patients and then also with the families who call in who express how hard it is to not be there with their loved ones, and to be able to be a part of their care the way that they usually are. So that was really what I was was looking for, when I didn’t see a team that had already been created. I thought, well, you know, maybe I’ll just create one and see who else is, is interested in this. So that’s really how the team came to be. And then from there, Rose Marie and Kelly and Sabine had had joined in we all from there began being brainstorming on ideas how to help; Help this problem that we all felt was taking place within our own units and hospitals. So are those, the problem being the isolation piece, the solution and I think at first, we wanted to really hone in on the ICU setting where the patients are really sick and a lot of times intubated, and they don’t have their family members there, and the family members can’t be at their bedside. And we know that. It there’s a lot of coordination with the nurses and with the family members and the medical team when they do have these meetings daily to give updates. And then also, there is the opportunity, you know, for nurses to have the family members communicate with the patients or be able to talk to them, but this is there’s a lot of coordination that goes along with this. And usually there’s just one person, the healthcare proxy, who’s able to have this communication. So our solution was to have a way for family members, loved ones to leave messages for the patient who is in the ICU. And these messages can be compiled throughout the course of the whole day. And then the nurse is able to use this as as part of the workflow. But what works best at the time for the nurse and the patient to play all these messages. And then even these messages can be replayed. whenever it’s whenever it makes the most sense for the patient, and just really trying to focus on and we know this as nurses that having the having hearing loved ones voices, is going to help your overall care your overall well being. And so just to be able to provide that extra sense of love for the patients to help them during this difficult time.


Molly McCarthy: Thank you. That’s, that’s perfect. I think. I know that we’ve heard a lot about that at Microsoft just in terms of the communication and the risk for families with COVID, but I think you make a good point in terms of it’s not just for COVID. But beyond looking at other sensitive situations like immuno compromised patients, for example, in the bone marrow transplant unit. So where do you guys, what what are your next steps? Where do you go with your, your solution? Are you taking it further? I would love to hear from you, Rose Marie about where you’re going next.


Rose Marie: Yes, yes. So, um, great question. Um, I just had to mention that my uncle recently passed, and I can’t stop thinking about how here now our solution that we came up with during the hackathon would have been so, so so helpful, so reassuring and just a closure providing for us that can’t really Do anything to maybe change the outcomes but can also just help heal our family. While while our loved ones are, you know, maybe going in a difficult route, you know, and, and, like you say is very post COVID like this is COVID times it was boring, but it can transcend Well, well past COVID. And it’s different than you. So I really feel connected to seeing this product, come to life post hackathon, you know, so we are working together with Microsoft, as part of the winners of the hackathon experience. And we’re getting great mentorship from you guys. And withSonsiel. And we’re really just seeing how can we turn this into a real viable thing? How can we see this being implemented in hospitals and other healthcare settings across the nation, maybe even across the world.


Molly McCarthy: Right. Well, thank you. I’m so sorry to hear about your uncle. I know, you know, my mom, for example, how to bone marrow transplant many years ago. So I can relate to that. It’s tough. It’s really hard for the the patients and family. So I look forward to seeing the success of here now. So thank you for your time. I do want to close out with my lightning round question just to as we think about the future of nursing and where nurses and the profession will go, what why, why would a nurse want to join a hackathon? If you were to take 30 seconds to give an elevator pitch to a future nurse or a student nurse? What would you say to her him at, you know, rationale for joining a hackathon. And I’m going to start with you Molly.


Molly Higgins: Well, I think you know, I’ve heard this before but I’ve really come to believe it truly believe it is that nurses are natural innovator. And there’s we’re always dealing with workarounds. We’re always trying to, we’re always making things happen that we think need to happen. And we always find a way to do it. And then also we’re natural. We advocate and that’s, that’s a huge part of this too. You’re trying to speak for someone else and speak to that voice, and doing the best that you can for patients. And I think what really ties in the hackathon part is that we are uniquely positioned in a place where we’re with the patients from admission to discharge and involved with every single aspect of patient care. So we’re the ones that have to, you know, go through use all of the policies and procedures, all of the equipment, we’re aware of how of the way that the patient is cared for about how each step that is involved in that and that’s where there’s a lot of there’s a lot of problems that you can see during that time. And so that means that there’s a lot of solutions. So every time you have something that you’re thinking, well, maybe there’s an improvement here, that’s that is The opportunity for an innovation. And so I think the hackathons are wonderful because you’re at all these nurses coming together, I think of anything. It’s just It’s so inspiring to see that we’re among this community in that everybody has a place for it. Every nurse has a place for it, everyone belongs in this community. And the more that we can pull together, and try to solve these problems, the more problems that will be solved. So I really think that nurse innovation is the key to the future of healthcare and being a part of it has has made me realize that even more and I’m inspired by all of all of the nurses that I met and all the pitches that we saw, and and then lastly, you get to meet other nurses from all over and that you can keep these ongoing friendships with and it’s just a great sense. It’s a great way to network as well. So overall, it’s always just been a great experience.


Molly McCarthy: Thank you, Molly. Great points. And what about you, RoseMarie?


Rose Marie: Well, I first and foremost, believe that nurses is always challenged the status quo. Nurses are innovators and catalysts for change. We take the situation that we are presented with, and we seek solutions and how to make things better. Nurses are like Molly’s data uniquely positioned where we are usually the end users have multiple different applications that are applied to patient care. But we’re also the connectors to where patients get their first experience and last experience with any type of healthcare model. And I think that we we are truly the key and doorknob to change in the future of healthcare.


Molly McCarthy: Well, thank you both. I you know, I firmly agree with both of your sentiments and I really look forward to seeing the success of Team 26 here now patient Connect. Thank you guys so much for joining me today. I’m excited. To hear more about nurse GPS solution from the NurseHack4Health.

And with me today I have Julie and Sue boo and would love for you guys just to introduce yourselves to our listeners and talk about what where you are in the world and what you do on a day to day basis.


Sueno Venkat: Okay, my name is Sue boo venket. I’m in Dallas, Texas. I work for UT Southwestern here in Dallas and I’m an engineer by background. I’ve been in healthcare for 15 years and I’m excited to be here.


Molly McCarthy: Right Thank you Julie.


Julie Gerlinger: My name is Julie Gerlinger. I’m a nurse and currently I’m a nurse care manager but I have a background in medical surgical nursing and psychiatric nursing. I currently work for the University of Arkansas for medical sciences. Today’s my two year anniversary. I I live in in Conway Arkansas, and I joined the hack for health because I’d heard about it hackathons. And I hadn’t had the opportunity to, to attend one. And this was my first really good opportunity.


Molly McCarthy: Great. Thank you. What about you Sueno? Have you been? Have you participated in hackathons before?


Sueno Venkat: No. So this was total Providence. I play around in LinkedIn a lot and saw this come up. I didn’t know what it was. But I registered and then I was not even sure I would get in. But I just said, this seems like a fun event for an engineer like myself. So I got in. And I was lucky to be there. Yeah. And I’m happy to have done it. Yeah. extremely happy.


Molly McCarthy: Great. And so did you. Did you come with an idea for one of the Tech Challenge areas I know that nurse GPS, the solution fell into the nurse, handoff track, I’m sorry, the patient transfer and huddle area, but I’m just curious how you curated the idea and brought the team together.


Sueno Venkat: So, I didn’t even know about the categories. So it was also hectic. So Friday evening, everybody was getting together. So I didn’t even have time to look through the categories. But I had two or three problems I thought we could solve as a team. And one of them was this nurse GPS concept. And then I pitched it around and people were more engaged in this idea. And that’s how it got off. The other ideas didn’t seem to have so much traction. Yeah.


Molly McCarthy : Great. And Julie, how did you find the group


Julie Gerlinger: and the mission? Since it was my first hackathon and it was my first first virtual event, I was bouncing around rooms to see what was going on and you know, what might have you know, where I might be able to lend myself and there were a lot of good discussions, but my background as a nurse, I’ve been on the floor and I have a background in like procurement and facilities management, so I had a little bit of a different perspective across the spectrum. And I thought that I probably have some skills that might work here.


Molly McCarthy: Right. So tell me a little bit about the solution, what you know how it works. And so if you could talk about that, and then Julie, maybe thinking about next steps.


Sueno Venkat: Yeah, thank you. Um, so the basic problem we are trying to solve is how can nurses on the floor, find the equipment they need, in a timely manner without going through, you know, whether it’s hunting or talking to people or calling folks or even doing, you know, like an Easter egg on you know, so basically, that was the whole concept, the trigger of basically what I have done. I have seen happen in units where nurses are scrambling during handoff and admission time. So that brought back memories of how can we make this better, and I was so happy to have a great team with me Yeah, that was the trigger. Yeah.


Molly McCarthy: Great. So you spent the weekend together. You obviously did extremely well coming in first, first place. What are your plans now with the team with the solution? Are you looking to move forward? I would love to hear a little bit about that process, too.


Julie Gerlinger: And this is everyone on our team was it was a first hackathon. So we’re all learning together. And, you know, with our one tech person, he’s been to hackathons before it was a it was a little bit broader experience in some of the with with folks in healthcare. I mean, he, he does that, but it’s just a little bit broader for him. And so right now we’re doing research because, you know, some of these things we’re, we’re learning the tech as we go and we’ve had people reach out to us and provide us advice and insight to kind of help them have us along. But then we have team meetings and we go home and we have homework and do homeworks


Molly McCarthy: that’s great. Well good. I’m glad that you mentioned learning as you go We call that at Microsoft learn it all. So you guys are looking at all this which I love. Just one last question for both of you. Like when it’s a little bit different for each of you want Julie for you? Why should nurses get involved in hackathons? And then Sueno for you, Obviously, you’re not a nurse, but why is it so important that we bring together people of different backgrounds like engineers with the clinician, so Julie, I’ll start with you.


Julie Gerlinger: So I don’t know any nurse who wakes up in the morning and thinks Oh, I want to give my okay care and I want to give you know, and I want to do this and and there’s so much that we can do to improve and so, being engaged in people who have the the knowledge And the skills and the heart to help us help the patients. That’s profound. And I don’t have to be a tech expert to do this. It’s nice that I have some of these, you know, skills to pull on. But they what they want to know from nurses is what does your workflow look like? What does you know all these these different things that we do during the day that that wind up being unique to nurses, and and folks who have the ability to forge these solutions? They they don’t know how that goes. And so when we come together, it’s like a meeting of the minds and we can create something that’s so much greater than where we started. Right.


Molly McCarthy: Great points. What about you, Sueno?


Sueno Venkat: So I totally concur with what Julie was saying. The one thing I would add is the key to hackathon is obviously we must have great minds but also being cross functional because at the end of the day, healthcare is about teams. working collaboratively, whether in the supply chain, whether in the clinical environment, whether in the IT environment and all that. So that is was reflected in our team. If you look at our team, we have a highly technical person, we have two great nurses, and myself an engineer with process improvement background. So we all came together. And it was, it was intense, and it was challenging, of course, but Friday night, Saturday, we were able to demonstrate that if we work together, any solution can be attained any problem can be resolved. And and the one key thing is, it’s got to be collaborative and cross functional, because sometimes you just don’t get to see the other side, what is possible from an IT side what is possible from a clinical side? That is not possible if you if you tend to be in your own thinking.


Molly McCarthy: Alright, yeah. And I think you know, we call that a siloed approach. And so I’m 100% in agreement with you And just want to say congratulations to you. I’m so excited for you. And I hope to see nurse GPS move forward. So welcome to our podcast with nurse hack for health winners. Today we’re talking with Chris and Charlene from Team five wellness. And I just want to say congratulations again. And I want to get started here with a few questions around the hack for health. First of all, I just love for you guys to introduce yourself and we’ll start with Charlene.


Charlene Platon: Thank you so much for having us on the podcast. We’re really excited to be here. My name is Charlene Platon on I’m currently working as director of ambulatory Nursing at Stanford healthcare. And I’m one of the 12 inaugural Johnson and Johnson nurse Innovation Fellows.


Molly McCarthy: Thanks, Charlene, Chris.


Chris Caulfield: Yeah, thanks for having us, Molly. So my name is Chris Caulfield. I’m the chief nursing officer and co founder of Intellycare, and I’m super excited to be here with you today.


Molly McCarthy: Great. Thank you. You I wanted to know if this was your the first hackathon that you’ve participated in. Charlene?


Charlene Platon: Yeah, great question. I actually had the fortunate opportunity to join the hackathon with Johnson and Johnson back in November. That was a great opportunity. It was something we learned about as part of the Johnson and Johnson or salvation fellowship. So that’s how I found out about this hackathon. So this is my second hackathon with Johnson and Johnson.


Molly McCarthy: Okay, and what motivated you I think, to join this nurse hack for health?


Charlene Platon: Yeah, it’s, it’s really great because I was really drawn to it specifically because of the fact that it was related to COVID19 solutions and how we can help in this pandemic. And the fact that so many nurses were involved. I really knew I wanted to be a part of it. I knew I wanted to be part of the solution. So that really drew me.


Molly McCarthy: Great. And Chris, what about you? Was this your first hack?


Chris Caulfield: Yeah, this actually is my first hackathon. I think I’ve done it. You know, my personal life. before but this type of structure with a bunch of nurse innovators before, you know this is my first time so I was super excited. And I reached out to Charlene and she was super excited about this as well. And we started thinking about some ideas in regards to resilience. And that wasn’t really something that we’ve seen out there in the market. So we came together and we came up with an idea. And it just worked. It was a sweet time for us to join up into join the hackathon.


Molly McCarthy: So let’s talk about your idea. It sounds like you came to the hackathon with a specific idea for one of the Tech Challenge areas around resiliency for nurses and thinking about self care. And tell me a little bit about what you what the process was like for your team.


Chris Caulfield: Sure, so so I reached out to Charlene. She actually reached out to me a couple of weeks back before the hackathon, and she was looking for some advice for for a startup. And we started talking back and forth and we got on to COVID and we we’re realizing that some of the interventions out there that we’re both doing on getting our workforces ready for the impacting getting ready to actually prepare to go to battle with COVID. And we saw that, that that’s great, you know, there’s some some needs in that market. But after COVID is going to happen, we just looked out there, and we saw all of the yelling and screaming on, you know, nurses saying that this is going to be a bad situation, and we’re not really prepared for it. And we don’t see any market and tools out there to really help with that type of stress. So we got together and we talked about it, we actually, you know, we saw the hackathon challenging. And we actually reached out to some of the founders, including Rebecca Love, and we we asked if this this category can be added to the to the to the screen. And, you know, we were so excited because you know, this is such a big impact area. And you know, the the founders of the hackathon were willing to join up in to add this important feature. So we got super excited. We We started strategizing kind of what our high level plans are, what our goals are. And then when we got to the hackathon, there was a lot of nurses, I think we had a total of nine nurses joined up in the team that just wanted to hammer on these interventions and really solve the solve the problem. So that’s, that’s what we did.


Molly McCarthy: Great. And Charlene, from your perspective, how, how was, you know, You mentioned, you done a hackathon back in November with Johnson and Johnson, how was it compare? You know, how did it compare your virtual experience to the in person experience and would love to hear a little bit about that?


Charlene Platon: Yeah, that’s a great question. And you know, it is a different experience when you see everyone and you see how many people are involved. There were several hundred people who came to the hackathon back in November, and it was in New Jersey. It was an amazing event, and you could feel the energy in the room. With this hackathon. Since it was all virtual. We know that there was over 900 people involved some way whether they were participants, whether they were mentors to Judges, whether they were people just supporting the event, it was also amazing to see how many people were just online and sharing this experience together. I do feel that even though this hackathon was online, everyone was able to connect very well. And I felt like it was almost the same engagement as in person. Of course, there are differences, there are connections that you that you can make more easily to in person. But I felt like we had such a strong connection in our team. I felt like everyone was really bonded, especially by this experience that we have with the pandemic and that really brought people closer together. So it was it was a very interesting but i thought was also very engaging experience.


Molly McCarthy: Great. couple more questions. I wanted to ask you all the really So you went through the weekend you came in first place. Where do you guys go from here? What are the next steps with well nurse with your idea? We’d love to hear a little bit about where you see yourself in the future. And we’ll start with you, Chris.


Chris Caulfield: Yeah, I think that that Charlene is really taking the the team and taking it into forming a company. And that is, that’s really my goal is to to assist in any type of way kind of be an advisor. My previous experience and my current experience is starting a small company and growing it to a rather large nursing organization. So, you know, I’m really interested in getting this product and helping Charlene take the next steps and meet the the next metrics to get to the next level. So that’s really what I’m helping out with with well nurse.


Molly McCarthy: Right and Charlene, from your perspective, you know, you came up with the idea and what are your next steps?


Charlene Platon: Yeah, so just like Chris said, we are really looking forward to moving this idea into a reality. We really want to see this as a mobile application that goes into the market and it gets into the hands of nurses directly. And so we have been meeting with our team regularly ever since the hackathon ended. We had a meeting just this past weekend, we’re going to meet again Today, so it’s a lot of momentum and traction that we’re still building on this. And so you know, the end goal is really just to see this out there helping nurses and just continuing to build on that. So that’s really exciting.


Molly McCarthy: Great, thank you so much. It’s, you know, it’s really exciting. I know you guys came in and incredibly organized and really had a plan moving forward. So I look forward to seeing the end game for you. One last question for both of you. It’s my lightning round. And I’ll start back with Charlene. Why should other nurses get involved in hackathons?


Charlene Platon: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I absolutely believe that nurses should be involved in hackathons because it’s such a great electrifying way to reinvigorate your passion for nursing, reinvigorate your ideas for innovating the healthcare space, and it really just gets you excited to know that there’s so many other nurses out there who want to accomplish the same mission of transforming healthcare of improving care for patients and for staff and I I think it’s just a great way to bond nurses and make other nurses feel that their ideas are heard. I think it’s a great way to bring your own ideas out there if you historically couldn’t do that in your own organization. So a great platform overall for nurses.


Molly McCarthy: Great. Thanks. And Chris.


Chris Caulfield: Yeah, I agree with Charlene. The the overall structure of the hackathons is great for somebody new that wants to get into innovation. There’s a lot of other ideas, there’s a lot of mentorship that can really take some of your, your initial ideas and then supplement them and make them even better than you had to start. And also you get the tools and the people to really grow that idea and make it happen. So it’s, I recommend it to all nurses that are interested in innovation.


Molly McCarthy: Right. Well, great. Thank you guys so much for taking time out of your daily busy schedule. Really appreciate it. And we really look forward to seeing the outcomes from well, nurse, so thank you. Well, welcome. I’m so excited to have Team 15 here today to talk to us about The nurse hack for health which took place a couple of weeks ago. And I want to welcome our two guests, Joanna and Lacey. Welcome you guys.


Lacey Sprague  : Hi. It’s great to be here. I am Lacey Sprague. I am a school nurse. I am an LPN. And I’m also a volunteer for the Williamson County Health District in COVID-19 investigations and contact tracing.


Molly McCarthy: Great, thanks, Lacey. What about you, Joanna?


Joanna Seltzer-Uribe: Hi, I’m Joanna Seltzer-Uribe. I’m a nurse informatics assists. I teach design thinking and I’m a Johnson and Johnson nurse innovation fellow.


Molly McCarthy: Great. I wanted to talk a little bit about what motivated both of you to join the nurse hack for health and if it was your first hackathon.


Joanna Seltzer-Uribe: This was my second hackathon. I also facilitate design thinking workshops which have a similar feel of everyone working together and trying to solve problems collaboratively. I think for me, a big motivation that I had joining the nurse hack for health this year was actually, as a mom, I am a mom of a four and a six year old and like so many others have just been really flooded with awareness of the role of teachers and school nurses in keeping our kids and our communities safe. And when I logged in, and I saw that there weren’t any team topics around school reopening, I just felt really inspired to kind of put out a bat call. And I said, I need a bat signal. Where are the school nurses and I just called the team at the time activate school nurses. And I really felt that it was important for us to understand the resources that they were going to need in order to reopen the schools.


Molly McCarthy: Yeah, that’s a really great point. What about you, Lacey? I know that your your background is in this area. But is Was this your first hackathon


Lacey Sprague: Yes, this was my first hackathon ever. So it was super exciting, an amazing learning experience. To see how everything came together everything everyone, it was completely amazing. I really felt like just my call to nursing and technology is what drew me to this event. And whenever I got in, like I had no idea what team I was going to be on. But whenever I saw the Activate school nurses, I was like, Oh, those, that’s where I’m going. That’s, that’s what I meant to be. Yeah, it was so amazing.


Molly McCarthy: Right, right. So So you mentioned Joanna that you’ve you’ve done some similar events like this. Obviously with with COVID-19. We wanted to do it virtually. So how was how did you feel their virtual experience was in comparison into what you’ve done in person.


Joanna Seltzer-Uribe: I was actually surprised by how much the vibe actually was the same as when you’re in person. There’s a lot of energy and there’s a lot of creativity that happens in an in person event. And I didn’t feel that the virtual experience cut that off. I felt like if anything, it kind of opened the doors because sometimes you don’t have the entire weekend to fly somewhere or sleep over somewhere, or get yourself to that physical space. And we had a nurse who works in the university system in Nepal, who was coming in and out of our group during the entire weekend. I also had someone pop in who’s a fellow nurse informaticist, and it turned out that he lived in the town over from me, all of these different connections that I would that you can make. In a in person setting I felt like was actually amplified in In the virtual setting because of the scope of people that could have participated, and I really enjoyed using the different tools within Microsoft Teams, it was really integrated.


Molly McCarthy: Right. So you talked a little bit about the solution and thinking about reopening schools. So coming in first place in the data and reporting area, so great as we think about the challenges as we move forward as a nation, but then also globally, and, and you mentioned having that resource from Nepal. Tell me a little bit about what your solution is aiming to do and where are you going from here? What are your next step steps as a team if you are moving forward with this idea?


Lacey Sprague: So the solution involves the biggest problem we have as school nurses. We’re kind of in an information silos we’re out there by ourselves for the most part, because of different mandates for HIPAA, FERPA. And our thinking and reasoning was, how are we going to go back to school? How are nurses who are often one to many, many students going to be able to manage the data in a reasonable manner. And that’s humanly possible so to speak. So we came up with the solution on screening, pre screening, and how we’re going to connect that with data be able to query the data. And the big one of the bigger parts of our technology is the ability to have what we call a school NURSE Corps, which is like the sideline, nursing students come in and take part in the community Health. So for their communities or, you know, beyond their communities, just a huge opportunity to connect all around between school nurses, families, student nurses, school nurses, just creating a whole opportunity and a solution to help kids get back to school, which I think is super important.


Molly McCarthy: Right? Yeah, I know. I know. We all many of us have children and we’re excited for, for them to re enter safely. And Joanna, I’d love to hear from you about where where are you taking this? Where are you going next steps if you are with the solution.


Joanna Seltzer-Uribe: Yeah. So really, what we’re trying to do is to match nursing schools with school nurses, because nursing schools have all of these students that can’t do their clinical hours because of all of the COVID restrictions. So traditionally, they might have gone to a hospital or a nursing home. That’s out of The question right now and probably for the foreseeable future, so we really want to activate the nursing schools to have their students do their clinical hours with the school nurses. And what we identified is that there’s going to be a critical time period pre school opening. So if the school opens at 830, in the morning, well from 630, in the morning to 830 in the morning, you’re going to have over 1000 students, hundreds of students all submitting these forms and sending in their data from their health screening, whether their parents are doing it on the phone, or if older students are doing it themselves about how do they feel have they been in contact. And once we realized the ratio of a single school nurse to an entire school or school district, sometimes we realized that this is actually a human problem, more than an actual tech problem. So the tech is there, we’re going to have a dashboard for students to log in. But anytime you’re dealing with data, there’s really a human factor to that of reading through it, seeing figuring out Okay, 10% of the students, it’s now 7am we still haven’t gotten the answers, are we going to call them are we going to text them if they are sidelined from school making sure that they’re in touch with the pediatrician that they’re in touch with the contact tracer. So there really is a human side of the data that we wanted to focus on. And I think being able to connect with the vast resources of nursing schools when there’s over 300,000, enrolled nursing students, the crux is really to develop a network that can be replicated in different regions and different parts of the country. So we’re in talks right now with Microsoft and Johnson and Johnson about what resources are going to be available to us and we are forging forward we have an Excel sheet that we’re constantly updating and getting things together. And we’re really hoping to be able to launch a pilot starting this August and run through in a couple of districts.


Molly McCarthy: That’s great. I think it will be so helpful for for everyone in the community. So congratulations. I’m excited to see it move forward. And you brought up a good point, Joanna. It’s the tech is there. It’s a human problem. And we think about technology solutions. But what we really need to think about is technology people and processes as we transform. One last question for both of you. Why should other nurses get involved in hackathons design thinking, tell me a little bit more about why you would recommend it.


Lacey Sprague: I would recommend it because it’s our second nature, it’s in our soul. as nurses to make things better, we want to make things better. And each of our experiences, personal and professional, have given us all a unique set of abilities, and using our ability, to collaborate as well which is also a big part. Nursing is just tools that we can use to help our communities, other people, students, families, everyone that we can use. Great.

Joanna Seltzer: I would recommend it because it’s our second nature, it’s in our soul. as nurses to make things better, we want to make things better. And each of our experiences, personal and professional have given us all a unique set of abilities. And using our ability, ability to collaborate as well, which is also a big part of nursing is just tools that we can use to help our communities, other people, students, families, everyone that we can use.


Molly McCarthy: Great. What about you, Joanna?


Joanna Seltzer: You know, I think nurses are oftentimes used to hearing the word No, they’re used to hearing that there’s not enough money for something and the ideas are there, but there has been some bit of disenfranchisement. And I think the reason for nurses to be involved in a hackathon is that’s where you’re going to get…Yes, that’s where you’re going to get a team of people like in our experience, we had a developer we had nurses informaticists, we had school nurses. And we were able to really delve into the issue and come up and collaborate on what the right solution is. And I think that’s what nurses are really yearning for. This is 2020, the year of the nurse and the midwife. And this is really the time for the nurses voices to be heard.


Molly McCarthy: Well, welcome, everyone. I’m so excited to be here today with Project flourish. Joshua and Kim from the team. They worked on a project in the remote patient monitoring in the home setting. And I would love Joshua and Kim for you guys for you both just to give a quick introduction of who you are. And and Was this your first hackathon.


Joshua Littlejohn: Yeah, so I can I can start up. So hi, my name is Joshua. I’m an RN. By training. I also have a background in public health and technology. I worked At the University Pennsylvania health system in the data analytics center, and as well as I’m a head on the head of product for envoy at home, this was not my first, my first hackathon, nor my first virtual hackathon, but certainly one that I was most excited about being nurse focused. So that’s really what drew me to the event.


Kim Bistrong: And Kim Hi, my name is Kim Bistrong. I am a physical therapist. I’ve been a practicing home physical therapy for 22 years. And I recently finished my MHA from GW and have now been very interested in technology and collaborating with other people and just learning more. This was my first hackathon and it was great to meet so many like minded people to to work with.


Molly McCarthy: Right Well congratulations on finishing you’re MHA. That’s, that’s fantastic, especially right now. And so obviously you both have done work in the home setting. And I’m just curious if either of you actually came with an idea into this hackathon. I know, Joshua, you mentioned you’ve been in hacks before. So I think he had said that you had a specific problem that you were looking to solve. And we’d love to hear more about that.


Joshua Littlejohn: Yeah, I was really excited about the the challenge prompts, particularly when I saw one about around remote monitoring in the home. I really just wanted to take that idea and play with it and talk about different populations. So when we started discussing as a group, we weren’t so much focused on one solution as we were the different the different groups that experience this problem. Really being how do we how does a remote patient population connect with their caregivers back at the office back at the clinic where at the hospital wherever they are. So I was really focused on the problem. And I really have to credit the team for coming together and creating a really cool solution in my opinion.


Molly McCarthy: So Joshua, can you tell me a little bit you describe the problem. Tell me a little bit about the project flourish the solution and how you’re addressing the problem?


Joshua Littlejohn: Yeah, sure, Molly. So the the solution really focuses around the use of old school technology from the 90s that was really supposed to be used for technical support on again, very basic phones. This technology has been carried over through the different generations of phones all the way from simple feature phones to to smartphones. So we can actually leverage what used to be a technical support, device or or method or methodology to provide applications simple applications that are menu based, in order for remote rural populations to engage in something form of telehealth, you could imagine administering a survey or asking them to collect vitals for you and enter those, screen them for COVID or other such, again, basic functions. And in that way we’re trying to gather data and engage patients who might not otherwise be able to use modern telehealth platforms.


Molly McCarthy: Great. That’s exciting. I’m excited to see where this is going. So thank you. So Kim, how did the team come together? I’m just curious. How did you all meet? How did that happen? And how was the virtual experience for you?


Kim Bistrong: Well, for me, I guess it was Friday night, since it was my first hackathon and my first time using Microsoft Teams. I was kind of jumping around to rooms. I was in a couple rooms first that were based a lot on discharge planning, which I thought I could kind of play a good role in being that I’m in the homes and, and I think a lot of patients tell you what they want to hear in the hospital in order to get home. And it’s not always the truth. So I thought I would be able to help some people out there, but it seemed like the people that I was talking with kind of already had an idea of what they wanted to do. And then since Josh and I have known each other for a few years now, and he actually knows my passion for Home Safety and stuff, so I said, Josh, could I join your team? And he said, I could and, you know, and, and, and I, you know, the area that we were working in was totally outside my comfort zone because it was rural, and I’m a urban person. And then when I joined, I think Lisa was already on the team and she was from Oxford, UK. And she was great and the next day Bema from Zambia joined in and wow. And then subi joined our last day and she was in Atlanta, Georgia. And but we all, you know, kind of even though I don’t have a degree in public health that I wish I did you just, you know, that’s not the route I took, but uh, I feel we just, we just really are focused on helping people around. And I’d say we all are all of us are a little bit of a bleeding heart group.


Molly McCarthy: Well, that’s great, obviously geographically diverse, but a mission mission somewhat similar. And so fantastic. I love hearing about all the different countries and backgrounds that are represented during the weekend. I’m just curious with project flourish. What where where does it stand now at the end of the weekend with the minimum viable product that you created. And and what are your next steps for for project flourish? Joshua?


Joshua Littlejohn: Sure, sure. So we’ve really focused on our immediate next steps on customer discovery, right? So before we go, and we, you know, engage more engineers and start coding and all of that sort of stuff and really developing a tangible product. We’re going to take our idea and really test this out and see through some rigorous again, customer discovery, which are essentially your interviews with rural patients and rural provide rural providers, whether or not this is a real problem that they face one and two, if this is a solution that is amenable to to both of those populations, because if it doesn’t work on either side, then it’s not really a truly feasible solution. So we would like to fail fast in the spirit of agile. I really conduct a lot of the those those interviews and then in the next 2.5 to three weeks really come to a go no go decision. So whether or not we’re going to carry this forward, we would like to understand a little bit more about the dynamics behind that. Before we make any of those those choices.


Molly McCarthy: Well, I think that’s very smart. And it’s better to know, early then than later, I think, and really doing the research and really part of that product development cycle is is having those crucial conversations. So I applaud your efforts there because not everybody does that. So good. Good work. One last question for both of you. Why should other nurses or why should other health professionals, like physical therapists in your case cam, why should they get involved in hackathons? What’s the benefit? And I’ll start with Kim this time.


Kim Bistrong: Um brainstorming I don’t know just talking with with other people who want to address the same problems as you, but maybe not the same way? And, you know, and and hearing other people’s ideas and listening to them, because even though you have an idea, your idea might not always be the right idea. Right.


Molly McCarthy: Great. Great. Great points. And Joshua.


Joshua Littlejohn: Yeah. So much the same way. You know, we always say that diverse teams come up with better ideas. And I really think that a lot of the engineering and and sort of innovation teams lack a nursing voice to it, right. I’ve always said that. Nurses are sort of product managers of healthcare, they sit between they sit with the patient between the healthcare system, the doctors, their families, they see all you know, we’re there all of the time. So from a nursing perspective, I really feel that there’s a lot that we can bring to the table. But from an interdisciplinary perspective, again, you know, to Kim’s point, there’s nothing better than brainstorming with a group of people that come come at that same problem from a different perspective,


Molly McCarthy: right, that’s, I mean, that’s perfect. I think I’m gonna beat the drum again. But I actually when I moved from clinical to to the tech world, I sat in a product management role. And really, a lot of the skills that I had learned as a nurse as being an advocate for patients reaching out to the different disciplines was what I was doing for my product. So there’s so many transferable skills. So that’s great to hear. And finally, I’m so excited that you all were able to participate because I like you. I believe that nurses are critical in the design, development and deployment of technology. And having an interdisciplinary team and geographically diverse team like like project flourish. Really, really benefited not just not just you, but really society. So I want to say thank you so much for participating and I look forward to hearing the outcome. Now I’m going to check in with you in three weeks. Okay?


Claire Bonaci: Thank you all for watching. Please feel free to leave us questions or comments below and check back soon for more content from the HLS industry team.



Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.