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Nurses are generating a host of innovations to resolve healthcare pain points during the age of COVID. At the Nurse Hack 4 Health virtual hackathon, a project to make telehealth more accessible to rural Americans and a “GPS” that helps hospital nurses quickly locate available equipment were just two of the five winning ideas that emerged from the May meeting of minds.

Some 30 teams of nursing innovators competed in the hackathon, and five winning proposals were chosen by a team of judges from Johnson & Johnson, SONSIEL (Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders), Microsoft, dev up, and prominent independent nurse-entrepreneurs and leaders. Over the summer, SONSIEL and Microsoft will have business and technical mentoring meetings with the winning teams. The teams presented the following stand-out projects:

Well Nurse (Resiliency and Self-Care category), a peer-to-peer app to help nurses cope with stress, connect with one another, and identify best practices to foster mental well-being. “The end goal is that the application will be not only functional, but a helpful resource for nurses facing mental health challenges,” says team member Charlene Platon. Team members: Chris Caulfield, Charlene Platon, Ahnyel Burkes, Jillian Littlefield, Kathy Shaffer, Kristy Peterson, Natale Burton, Xiaoyun Cong, Anil Punjabi, Laura Deschere.

HearNow (Acute Care Patient Monitoring category) is designed to connect patients and their loved ones at times of social distancing and also accommodates the usual communication issues in acute care. With this system, loved ones can transmit video and audio messages from home that nurses can share when patients are alert and in need of comfort. Team members: Molly Higgins, Kelly Ayala, Sabine Clasen, Rosemary Yetman.

Activate School Nurses (Data and Reporting category) connects short-staffed school system nurses with nursing students to manage school re-openings and maintain and monitor student health data to reduce the danger of further outbreaks. Team members: Joanna Seltzer Uribe, LeAnthony Mathewshttps, Blanca Badgett, Ramona Ramadas, Chris Young, Lacey Sprague, Brian Goldenberg, Pao-Chu Tseng, Pramila Thapa.

Nurse GPS (Patient Care Coordination category) is a technology that provides nurses with the floor and room location of urgently needed equipment. The aim of the project is to reduce delays in obtaining equipment and lessen the danger of infection by making it unnecessary for a nurse to leave and reenter a room multiple times. Team members: Subbu Venkat, Mary Kavalam, Ian Kerman, Julie Gerlinger.

Project Flourish (Remote Patient Monitoring category) seeks to broaden the reach of telemedicine in rural areas and among senior citizens by working around obstacles such as a lack of broadband access and smartphones. Primarily making use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) 1990s-era technology such as Nokia flip-phones, care providers can make contact and receive health data from patients who lack technical literacy and/or present-day devices. Team members: Joshua Littlejohn, Kim Bistrong, Lisa Rickers, Biemba Maliti.

For details about the hackathon, visit the Nurse Hack 4 Health Home page.

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