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Hackathon won by team aiming to improve healthcare communication


Doug Hendrie


22/08/2019 4:49:40 PM

One GP’s frustration with communication in antenatal care may lead to a tech solution.

RACGP Hackathon winners.
Winning Melbourne team Dr Francis Mwaura, Dr Arutchelvan Manickam, Dr Bambi Markus, Emma Chan and Ayesha Ahmed.

For 16 years, Dr Bambi Markus has been stymied by one particular problem.
 
Now she’s taken the first step to solve it – and her team has won the RACGP’s first ever Hackathon to boot.
 
After thinking about the problem of communication in the antenatal space for years, Dr Markus finally had a chance to tackle it directly.
 
At the RACGP’s inaugural Hackathon held in Melbourne on 10 August, 35 participants shared ideas that might improve practice management or patient experience, aided by tech gurus.
 
Dr Markus pitched her idea as a way to improve the patient experience. Soon she had four others – GPs and techies – around her who were also interested in the problem.

The team, Ayesha Ahmed, Emma Chan, Dr Arutchelvan Manickam and Dr Francis Mwaura, set to brainstorming in earnest. The solution had to be electronic, frictionless and efficient. 
 
‘I am not a tech person at all, so the idea of how this data can be gathered and stored was a question I posed to my team,’ Dr Markus said.
 
Together, the team came up with an app idea combined with a clever use of an existing technology.
 
The judges liked the idea – and their team, The Antenatal Hub, won.
 
Dr Manickam told newsGP the Hackathon was a great opportunity to experience what it would be like to be in a tech start-up.
 
‘I was drawn to the problem Bambi raised. It seemed there could be a straightforward solution,’ he said.
 
Dr Manickam says the idea could potentially lead to a med tech start-up. 
 
‘That’s a conversation for the near future. It would be a long road and there would be a lot of sacrifices that would need to be made,’ he said.
 
‘But I’d really like to see this come to fruition. It’s possible – it’s not as unattainable as people think. It’s about turning up, thinking critically and working hard.’ 
 
Dr Mwaura told newsGP the Hackathon was an adrenaline rush.
 
‘It was amazing to see how quickly solutions can be formulated when the environment is conducive,’ he said.
 
‘We will develop a prototype, test it and then go to market – hopefully we can scale both locally and internationally.’
 
Following the Melbourne event, another Hackathon was held in Brisbane on 17 August.  
 
The winning Brisbane team came up with a way to make navigating the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) easier.
 
All attendees will be encouraged to submit a pitch to the inaugural PitchFest – dubbed ‘Shark Tank for health practitioners’ – which will take place during the RACGP’s GP19 conference in October.



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