TeleXHealth wins Hack Aging event

Elderly people can use automated phone service to share health information

Bob Zhou, Lisa Corcoran, Andreas Limberopoulos, Rebecca Martin and Tahir Tanveer from TeleXHealth.

Bob Zhou, Lisa Corcoran, Andreas Limberopoulos, Rebecca Martin and Tahir Tanveer from TeleXHealth.

A system that helps elderly people share information about their health via an automated telephone service was the overall winner of IBM and HealthXL's 'Hack Aging' event held in Melbourne over the weekend.

The information is then digitally recorded, analysed and tracked on a dashboard, and can be accessed via a mobile application by the patient, their doctor, family or carer.

Developers TeleXHealth will work with clinicians and community care providers in Melbourne's Northern Health hospital network to refine and complete a prototype of their solution for trialling with patient groups.

In addition, the team will be invited to present their offering to 100 digital health professionals at the next quarterly HealthXL global gathering to be held in Munich during September.

TeleXHealth team leader Andreas Limberopoulos said that talking with elderly people during the event provided the team with a real-life understanding of their lives and the challenges faced.

"Early on we spent a lot of time asking the wrong types of questions and ended up with prototype ideas for products that probably weren't going to get used," he said.

"We then found some discussions online about how traditional physicians underestimate the importance of happiness in aged care. We ended up deciding to build a holistic and feel-good idea that had limited money making scope, but improved the happiness of the individuals and their families."

However, it wasn't until late on Saturday that the team realised that the system architecture it had built was a powerful framework for collecting information and displaying it.

"I guess you could say that what we got out of the event was: There is always a person behind the patient and it's extremely important to always design your solutions for them, and not your bottom line," said Limberopoulos.

A hackathon fan, he said this was a different experience to other events as the team was able to test its ideas with health-care experts.

"That was incredibly helpful in designing our solution and I don't think we could have done it without the mentors and the HealthXL team."

Two developers spent about 20 hours each coding while the rest of the team spent their time drawing solutions on paper and testing them with experts and mentors.

Two other offerings were recognised in the competition.

These were:

Olive, an application which monitors and tracks information about the vehicle and the driver behaviour, such as location, speed, braking and distant from other vehicles.

Heston, an online application that can be used by dieticians to create personalised meal plans to help tackle malnutrition in elderly people. The solution analyses a range of information on each patient including previous and current medical history, food likes and dislikes and weight goals.

A total of 18 solutions were developed during the 48-hour hackathon.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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