CSM leaves mark on Inaugural Inspira/Rowan Health Hack

The inaugural two-day Inspira Health Network/Rowan University Health Hack was hosted by the South Jersey Technology Park and sponsored by Republic Bank, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Cerner, and the City of Glassboro. The competition included nine teams representing more than a dozen disciplines. They were fueled by a desire to improve patient care. Doctors (both of the medical and Ph.D. variety), researchers, IT professionals, scientists, clinical staff, graduate students and other representatives from the two organizations teamed up to develop innovative solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges.

Three teams were awarded $20,000 each of seed money to fully develop their proof of concept. The Inspira Health Network Innovation Fund and Rowan University provided funding for the awards. Two of the three winning teams had a member of the College of Science & Mathematics involved.

CSM Health Hack Winners:
Creating an Uber-like volunteer-staffed patient transportation service to increase care access: Rowan University’s Parth Bhavsar, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems, and Christopher Lacke, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics; and Inspira Medical Center Vineland Family Medicine residents Long Nguyen, D.O., Mohammad Rattu, D.O., and Amar Joshi, D.O.

Developing and testing a portable 3-D fluorescent microscope for quick dermatologic diagnosis: Rowan University’s Ben Wu, Ph.D., assistant professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Yang Qi, doctoral student in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Shengtao Sun, graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Xiao Hu, Ph.D., associate professor in Physics and Astronomy; and Geralyn Paterson, vice president of Physician Integration, Inspira Health Network.

 “The energy and creative forces that we witnessed at the Health Hack were the direct result of providing a venue for innovators from many disciplines to work together,” said John DiAngelo, president and CEO of Inspira Health Network. “At the opening of the event, I told the participants I was counting on them. Their creative thinking and drive to improve patient care exceeded my expectations.”

More than 50 representatives from the two organizations participated. Many teams, working in what are known as idea labs, were formed in the early hours of the event, while others came together weeks before the event began. Participants sought out teammates who had similar interests yet different skill sets and areas of expertise.   

“If the healthcare moonshot is going to happen, it is going to happen right here, between Rowan and Inspira,” said Shreekanth Mandayam, Ph.D., vice president of Research, Rowan University, referring to the innovation and focused effort that landed the first man on the moon. “Breakthroughs occur at the boundary between disciplines, and that is exactly what the Inspira Innovation Center and the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University are hoping to foster.”

Each team made a three-minute presentation early in the afternoon on day two of the Health Hack. Judges selected five teams as finalists, with an opportunity to refine their presentations based on feedback. Just 90 minutes later, the finalists had five minutes to pitch their ideas. The judges scored each presentation independently, before the presentations were tabulated and the winners announced. Serving as judges were: Jeff Fisher, chief product officer of Intraprise Health; Heather Simmons, Gloucester County freeholder; and Frank Jacobucci, president and CEO of Speranza Biotechnology.

“This event had two primary goals,” said Dave Johnson, vice president of Innovation for Inspira Health Network. “Finding innovative solutions to health care challenges was certainly a goal. But this event was also designed to fuel the partnership between Rowan and Inspira and to help people from both organizations experience the creative power of working together.”