Patient Safety Technology Challenge Celebrates Patient Safety Award Winners at SXSW, Stanford, Penn, and more

The Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative's (PRHI) Patient Safety Technology Challenge celebrated the completion of four more patient safety awards during March. As part of the Challenge's purpose to inspire innovators to develop solutions to reduce medical error, PRHI sponsored awards at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge at the University of Washington, Penn Nursing Innovation Accelerator, and TreeHacks hosted by Stanford University.

The Patient Safety Technology Challenge is designed to fuel the engagement of students and innovators in creating solutions and envisioning transformational approaches to reduce preventable harm from medical errors and reimagine a vastly safer healthcare system. It recognizes the most innovative technology-enabled solutions focused on one or more of the five leading causes of patient harm: medication errors, patient care, procedural/surgical, infections and diagnostic error.

South by Southwest (SXSW)

On the evening of Monday, March 13, SXSW registrants gathered for the24th Annual SXSW Innovation Awards presented by PRHI's "Patient Safety Technology Challenge." More than 800 people were in attendance. Each of the categories, including the Patient Safety Technology Challenge award, were narrowed down to three to five finalists who were judged on creativity, design, and function by a panel of industry leaders and experts, including patient safety expert and Pascal Metrics CEO Drew Ladner.

Kalogon, the world's first smart wheelchair cushion company, won the patient safety technology category at the 24th annual SXSW Innovation Awards. Kalogon's technology addresses the persistent patient safety concern of pressure sores through their AI-enhanced technology.

Other finalists in the patient safety technology category included: Diamontech D-Pocket, a medical device that noninvasively measures your blood glucose using a sensor, rather than finger pricking, a drop of blood, or a test strip; Jurata Thin Film, a startup focused on stabilizing vaccines at ambient temperature by immobilizing the biological pharmaceuticals into a solid film matrix; and Wide Awake VR (WAVR), utilizes customized, original, virtual reality content with wide-awake patients during surgery to eliminate the danger and expense of traditional anesthesia.

Holloman Health Innovation Challenge

The winner of the Patient Safety Technology Challenge award at the Holloman Health Innovation Challenge, hosted by University of Washington's Foster School of Business, was SmarTrach. The team won the $2,500 Patient Safety Technology Challenge Best Idea for Patient Safety Award to develop their idea for a tracheostomy tube attachment that uses a hot-wire airflow sensor to measure real-time airflow and alert push alerts to caregivers' smartphones when airflow is obstructed. The winning solution was developed by mechanical engineers pursing their master's degree at UW as well as a nurse and a medical doctor from Seattle Children's Hospital.

Jennifer Polo gives a presentation on IMPACTT.

 Penn Nursing Innovation Accelerator

The Penn Nursing Innovation Accelerator, hosted by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, provides funding and mentorships to assist Penn Nursing students, recent graduates, and faculty with the creation and testing of early-stage solutions to improve health and healthcare outcomes with a priority on populations of greatest need.

IMPACTT, a free educational platform for every patient and their caregiver, won the $10,000 Patient Safety Technology Track. The IMPACTT team, made up of Penn nurses, believes that giving patients the tools to provide more information will lead to less anxiety and better outcomes. The IMPACTT application includes a library of educational material, connects patients to their care team, and collects real-time data for their care team. With the funding from the competition, the team are planning to complete the STEM Cell Transplant Module and deploy it for patient use later this year.

Dr. Tang presents a workshop on patient safety technology before the TreeHacks competition.


TreeHacks, hosted by Stanford University, awarded Amanuensis the BIG IDEA: Best Technology-Enabled Patient Safety Solution award this year. Held February 17-19, the competition gathered over 1,600 hackers from across the globe.

Paul Tang, MD, professor at Stanford, serves as the judge and held a workshop on patient safety technology at the start of the hackathon, as an opportunity for hackers to understand the problem-solving mental model of physicians managing patient care as a basis for making care safer. Over 20 teams competed for the patient safety technology prize. The winner was Amanuensis, an artificial intelligence-enabled physician assistant that can automate clinical summarization and question generation, giving providers relevant and timeline insights for more accurate diagnoses. The team received a $2,000 award.

Read more about past competitions and winners involved in the Patient Safety Technology Challenge website

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