NaviNet on May 27, 2015

Winning the MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack 2015

It seems every event we attend and every conversation we have these days in healthcare IT reveals a deep need for the kind of network we are building at NaviNet. The incredible amount of entrepreneurial energy being invested in healthcare IT will be for naught without a network that can deliver their outputs to the right people, in the right places, at the right time. That's what NaviNet's Healthcare Collaboration Network does, for example with clinical documents from payers via our Document Exchange product. Our payer customers have reaped the benefits of our unique ability to communicate effectively with the provider setting for many years.

We took this message and our know-how to the MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack in Cambridge, MA the weekend of April 24th. We wanted to experiment with how our communication network could be applied in an entrepreneurial setting. Well, we were one of the winners of the hackathon, so we must be doing something right! Haven’t heard of the MIT Grand Hack? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! But first, a photo of our badges!


The Grand Hack is one of the largest hackathons in the world and essentially four different hackathons that focus on four distinct tracks. Our team consisting of the NaviNet Product Research team, two developers and a Product Manager chose the "wearables" track because it seemed to have the most glaring need for the capabilities NaviNet has to offer. During the wearables pitch session, there were very interesting problems presented by innovators from a wide range of disciplines that could be addressed with data available through wearable devices. Most of the ideas hypothesized that they could improve the quality of life for the target consumer base or enrich the overall information on a patient or patient base for the physician. Almost as a rule, every idea that was pitched depended on some form of data delivery, mostly focused specifically to the provider. This included physician pitches.

There was a general sense that miracles could happen if we could just send “x” custom data points directly to the physician; very noble, but not very feasible. One physician we spoke to was interested in medical adherence and how to receive and prioritize patient information to better delegate follow up. What we discovered in these mini focus groups was that in essence, no one was bringing the NaviNet user persona, “Jen”, into the conversation who has the ability to act on actionable information being positioned at the provider office front desk. Jen has her finger on the pulse of the network. 

Traditionally it has been difficult to monitor a patient’s vitals outside of the doctor’s office. Wearables are an up-and-coming technology that show a lot of promise. Wearables can support tracking activity level, UV exposure, location, heart rate and more. Microsoft Band is one of them that can be worn on a wrist. It’s amazing to see how a simple wrist band can do many things that were next to impossible in this form factor a decade back.

Health plans like NaviNet partner, Oscar are showing interest in providing wearables to entice members to take control of their health. Statistics show that current wearable usage is greater among healthy people. This market can be expanded to other consumers as well. The simplicity of the wearable devices should attract all generations.

At the MIT hackathon we got the glimpse of the technology usage ranging from simple activity tracking to more complex detection of falls and heart related problems. Although there is great potential for wearables they are limited by the single biggest challenge that all electronics are facing currently: battery life. Because of the constraints of battery life the wearable technologies are either limited in functionality or bulky in form factor. Once this problem is improved the wearables can become a more powerful consumer technology. They can have more sensors and allow faster data sampling rate which in turn improve the data accuracy and proactively improve our health in coordination with patient care teams.

We have every confidence that the industry will solve the battery issue. That, combined with the NaviNet network, can take the countless use cases for monitoring wearable data and distill and deliver that data to the correct person in the patient’s network. So how did we win? Our project ultimately combined wearable technology with medical alerts for at-risk users to make an appointment with their PCP. At the same time, alerts will also be sent to the patient’s provider office informing them of the irregular activity indicated by the wearable data as a care gap that needs to be addressed. We believe this closed-loop system can be particularly effective for addressing high-risk patients in certain disease management populations. Wearables data is extremely valuable and should not become more noise for an already inundated provider to comb through.

This was an extremely well run and well sponsored hackathon. It was clear from the energy, innovative ideas and positive altruistic vibe that participants were here to use their experience and passion to improve healthcare in the US. The presentations had impressive stats, MBA quality slides, altruistic ideas of how to improve healthcare in the US, but no one except NaviNet had any solutions for taking the vast amount of wearable data points in an actionable way. We believe that for this reason we ultimately won the Grand Hack Wearables Sponsor prize.


NaviNet Product Research team members, Jason White, Dheeraj Duvvuru and Joni Pidcock, participated in the 2015 MIT Hacking Medicine GrandHack and won the Microsoft Band Sponsor Prize with an application that would deliver wearable data to the provider office.

Tags: Industry Events, Healthcare IT

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NaviNet, part of NantHealth, is America’s largest interactive healthcare network. Our flagship multi-payer provider website is built on deep payer integration and the innovative use of technology to deliver real bottom-line value for both payers and providers.