Four innovative solutions in emergency medicine receive awards
Innovators at Pakistan’s first-ever medical hackathon at the Aga Khan University have proposed new ways of tackling challenges facing Pakistan’s emergency rooms (ER).
HistorER, the winning team at the Hackathon, came up with a unique QR (quick response) code system to address a persistent challenge faced by ER doctors. Patients are often brought to emergency by family members or by bystanders who are not aware of their medical history. In the absence of critical information, doctors face delays in performing life-saving procedures.
The HistorER team has suggested that every person carry a medical card with a QR code with vital details: blood group, allergies, current medication and previous operations. Scanned, the QR code would provide doctors immediate access to information and the ability to initiate treatment promptly.
Speaking about the winning team’s solution, the lead organiser of the event, Dr Asad Mian, Associate Professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine at AKU, said: “HistorER’s idea can improve the efficiency of the ER and reduce errors caused by doctors not having timely access to vital patient data. Since the team’s solution involves their own storage and retrieval system, they can also ensure the safety of patient records and facilitate information sharing between doctors at different hospitals.”
Besides the winning team, three other groups also received prizes and awards:
- JackED which developed a convenient, prototype ER gown or ‘JackED’ to boost the accuracy of ECGs, a test to determine whether a heart attack has taken place.
- TrICS who created an app enabling ambulance paramedics to relay vital data about critically ill patients to ER staff before they arrive at the hospital.
- Breath Hacks which developed a mechanical Ambu Bag device to provide emergency breathing assistance to patients waiting for a ventilator
All pitches at the event were scored by a panel of healthcare, entrepreneurship and innovation experts in line with four criteria: health impact, innovation, business model, and presentation skills.
Pakistan Innovation Foundation founder Athar Osama, one of the judges at the event, said: “Innovation within a society comes from the bottom up – it is the work of individuals who, who faced with constraints, take it upon themselves to find solutions. Emergency response is a very critical area for a volatile city like Karachi and I’ve seen some great ideas at the Hackathon that are sorely needed. The participants have made great progress in just a few days and I look forward to seeing how they build upon these ideas.”
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