NewYork-Presbyterian IT leaders: App challenge to tap into community talent

With a goal of tapping into all the talent its community offers, NewYork-Presbyterian will kick off its InnovateNYP: Pediatric App Challenge in March.

The goal is to use ideas from clinicians, developers, the public and members at NYP's university partners Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University to create better ways to deliver care to pediatric patients, Daniel Barchi, NYP's chief information officer, tells FierceHealthIT in an interview.

The initiative will include both a 33-hour Appathon and a 10-week Challenge, according to an announcement, and NYP encourages those participating to form teams of up to eight to create software apps that use data to advance pediatric care for parents and patients.

The choice to make pediatrics a focus for the challenge came about because "there are unique opportunities that exist there that don't exist in all areas that we're focused on clinically," Barchi says.

Inspiration for the Appathon and Challenge stem from past events, adds Peter Fleischut, NYP's chief innovation officer.  One of those was a 36-hour hackathon, which saw a lot of success, he says. The second time around, they chose to do an 8 or 10-week challenge to give groups time to create more robust applications.

"For this event, we decided to leverage what we've learned from the past and start out with an Appathon to create initial prototypes. Once that is done, we'll go into a 10-week challenge, where they can build on these prototypes and really have time to develop their ideas in a more structured setting."

At the end, there will be about $50,000 in prizes awarded to winning teams, he adds.

Fleischut says they also will use the FHIR platform as one of the main data sources to enable the challenge.

"As we know in our current environment, sharing data and having access to data ... is hard and now because of resources through the Argonaut project and FHIR, we now can have access to data and provide that to innovators to produce applications," he says.

Once the Challenge and Appathon end and the winners are chosen, it's not over for NYP, Barchi adds.

"What we'll do is take our learning and experience from this and if there's specific technologies we can develop further, [we'll do that], and we'll take what we've learned and apply it to what we do day in and day out," he says.

Fleischut adds that with each event like this that NYP's holds, they continue to advance innovation and increase knowledge in the digital health field.

"With our first hackathon, we had a lot of success, with 18 groups involved," he says. "In the challenge we completed in August, we had more than 100 participants with 31 teams developing prototypes. So that's exactly why we're doing this, because we feel like its growing and we want to be invested in our staff--in our clinicians and doctors--as well as the developer community."

To learn more:
- here's the announcement 
- register for the challenge here