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Announcing Winners of the Health+ Sickle Cell Disease Healthathon

HHS and Howard University’s 1867 Health Innovations Project and the Center for Sickle Cell Disease announced winners of the public innovation Healthathon event

Health+ Sickle Cell Disease sponsored by HHS and Howard University’s 1867 Health Innovations Project and the Center for Sickle Cell Disease. A group of people gathered together and talking in a medical setting.Throughout the September Sickle Cell Awareness Month, twelve teams participated in a Healthathon innovation contest to create solutions that improve the quality of life for people living with sickle cell disease. On September 25th, HHS in partnership with Howard University’s 1867 Health Innovations Project and the Center for Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) celebrated the progress made by all teams and announced three winners during the Healthathon Finale.

“The Healthathon is like a code-a-thon, but is different in that everyone who has an interest in sickle cell was invited to submit an idea to improve care. Sickle cell affects millions of people worldwide, and the Healthathon seeks to modernize how people are cared for.I want to personally thank everyone who submitted an idea to the Healthathon.”

-  Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D.

Teams used available data to analyze trends and propose solutions in three areas:

Additionally, teams were provided areas of opportunity in the form of journey maps, which are narratives combining data, graphics, and perspectives of individuals living with SCD. Participants also reviewed the Key Takeaways Report from the June 2020 Roundtable on Leveraging Data to Address Sickle Cell Disease.

Out of the twelve teams and fourteen unique submissions, three were awarded opportunities in innovation and clinical validation, mentorship programs, policy whitepaper publication, and marketing spotlights sponsored by Howard University, AARP, Healthbox, and other organizations.

  • Category I: Promising Technical-Enabled Solution: Teams were asked to develop a proof of concept or technology prototype representing a new or incremental improvement. The SickleStrong Network team proposed an automated texting service for individuals living with SCD, giving them access to their provider team during ER admissions to reduce wait-time and negative experiences awaiting treatment. This service also connects individuals living with SCD to others in similar age groups, providing them with the ability to seek support, training, and participate in community action planning groups.
  • Category II: Promising Concept: In this category, teams developed original concepts in the form of a description, script, storyboard, marketing plan, or non-code prototype. Pushkar Aggarwal identified risk factors that significantly affected the mortality in hospitalized individuals living with SCD and developed a model to predict the future mortality risk. This concept and model may allow hospitals to allocate resources to  manage the mortality risk of each individual living with SCD.
  • Category III: Promising Recommendations: In this category, teams advocated for a position, solution, or strategy, with the winner representing the most promising research-enabled recommendation. The Bridges Pointe Incorporated – Durham Team developed a potential policy solution detailing improving continuity of care for individuals living with SCD in the transition from pediatric to adult care. The proposed policy aimed to enhance health equity among adolescents with SCD, transitional aged individuals, and college students, considering all social determinants of health.

We thank everyone who submitted an idea and solution to the Healthathon. We also sincerely thank our partners for working closely with HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health throughout the Healthathon: Howard University’s 1867 Health Innovations Project and the Center for Open Data Enterprise.

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