A Kinect Hack for Rehab Wins the Code-a-thon

The code-a-thon culminated with a judging session late Sunday afternoon, and Health 2.0 is excited to announce Team Avanade as the first place winner of $4,000! The group created a rehabilitation device to help clinicians and cardiac patients work together to avoid hospital readmission after a cardiac event. The three Avanade employees, Vlad Shlosberg, Roderick Escobar and Sheetal Shah, are based in different U.S. locations and have never professionally worked together, but they reunited in San Francisco to present their idea after previously winning a different Health 2.0 code-a-thon.

The device they built this weekend, which they call “the box,” was created with a Microsoft Kinect and can be used by a patient who is recovering from a cardiac event to perform rehabilitation exercises. The box prompts and encourages users to reach set fitness goals, and the Kinect motion-sensor technology ensures that they hit their marks. A tablet application records information that can be shared with doctors, allowing them to see how successful the program is working. It also acts as a video conferencing tool so doctors can remotely check in with their patients. After the set rehabilitation period, the rented box is then sent back to the medical facility.

Team Avanade has now earned a second presentation spot in this fall conference. Shah says he’d like to develop the device outside of the code-a-thon to see if any medical centers will try it out in a beta version. A huge selling point for the device is its low-cost. Between the price of the Kinect, the actual box and the tablet, the team’s hardware cost was about $470. Judges Jan Gurley and Fred Trotter weighed in on why the idea won this competition and why it might have a future in the marketplace:

Gurley: The box concept seemed really innovative because it combined standardized treatment with a mobile application that was not phone-based, but was actually a physical box and allowed people to combine medication patient compliance, physical therapy and live video with the provider.

I also think the interesting thing about it is it fills a huge hole. There are people that can’t get rehab. However, providers are going to be responsible, financially, if those people bounce back into the hospital. So, as they pointed out, a provider could afford, even as an Accountable Care Organization, to provide a box to patients which would allow them and their family to help them walk through something as complex as cardiac rehab without recreating the wheel every single time. It can be delivered to their house.

Trotter: What they’re doing is trying to use commercially available cheap stuff to do something that would have cost $5,000 to deliver two or three years ago. The notion that you could put together a box whose ultimate cost was under $500 and could do all the things that it’s advertising it can do, means that you could have a huge splash and that commercialization might actually work.

One of the things that excites me about the Accountable Care model …  it does present the opportunity, if you get a crazy idea, to actually work clinically and have a real impact.

More than one winner

The code-a-thon was competitive with a total of 13 teams that presented and six winners. While teams manage to make a lot of headway during the two day event, many acknowledged that their programs and presentations were a work in progress. Trotter tweeted from the panel, “Judging the #health2dev contest. Great ideas trapped in presentations that need more time.” Some presenters said they hoped to take the ideas they came up with this weekend and work on them outside of the code-a-thon. Plenty of teams will now be able to do this with some extra cash in hand. Here are all of the Fall 2011 winners:

1st     Box — $4,000

2nd     Recovery Online — $2,000: A site that aims to modify alcoholics’ behavior by letting them enter online videoconferencing rooms when they need support

3rd     Droid Vital — $1,000: An application that works in conjunction with Bluetooth devices to track vital sign information. This data can then be shared with doctors and nurses as well as a patient’s family and friends.

Novartis challenge winners:

1st     RxPact — $3,000: An online site that records personal information and employs social rewards and gaming to help patients take their medication. A virtual cat “meows” for food at a time that corresponds with when patients need to take their medications

2nd     Cystic fibrosis/ Cancer Application $2,000: A companion mobile app that reminds people to take their medications and alerts them of any possible side effects.

3rd     Rainbow Button - $1,000: A site that allows patients to provide Blue Button data with a Green Button approach. Health information is shared securely and anonymously, helping to contribute to the knowledge base about certain diseases.

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