Medical professionals and members of the public joined forces on Thursday and Friday to develop innovative life-saving technologies at national ambulance service Magen David Adom’s (MDA) first emergency medicine hackathon.
While hackathons traditionally bring computer programmers together to compete in several days of intensive, collaborative computer programming, the 26-hour MDA hackathon focused solely on developing innovative solutions to assist emergency medical teams save lives.
Approximately 60 participants, including MDA staff and volunteers, medical professionals and engineers, came together at Tel Aviv’s Afeka Academic College of Engineering to develop prototype solutions to improve MDA’s emergency response times and medical training abilities.
The hackathon followed the recent appointment of an MDA medical technology council which seeks to improve emergency services for the public through the integration of technology and the advancing of ideas relating to emergency medical innovation.
During the hackathon, MDA introduced participants to existing tools at the disposal of emergency response teams and the various vehicles used by the organization. Participants were split into teams and guided by MDA and Afeka College mentors.
The hackathon judging panel, featuring senior MDA officials including MDA deputy president Prof. Moshe Papa, awarded first place to a seven-member team which modified an MDA paramedic carry chair to enable a single first responder to easily and safely evacuate a patient down stairs – a potentially hazardous and time-consuming task, especially in high-rise buildings without elevators.
Second place was awarded to a team that engineered a solution for improving medical team exercises by rolling out cost-effective augmented reality simulation dummies across the country.
Third place was awarded to a team that developed a camera-equipped drone that uses artificial intelligence to assess multiple-casualty incidents and offer recommendations to the individual managing emergency responses.
“On behalf of all the country’s citizens, I offer my thanks to all the development and work teams for your efforts toward assisting MDA to continue developing a range of technological tools, with the objective of shortening response times and increasing the chances of saving lives in every place that it is so required,” said MDA director-general Eli Bin.
“The hackathon was an initiative born out of the desire to broaden the range of tools at our disposal, and we have succeeded. Thank you to the management of Afeka Academic College of Engineering for their cooperation,” said Bin.
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