Four teams of medical innovators won support at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) Fall Health Make-a-Thon to advance their ideas for new technologies to improve patient outcomes in the future. The new patient-centric innovations were proposed by medical and The Grainger College of Engineering students, computer science students, community members and healthcare providers. Their technological innovations aim to improve patient care, monitoring and processes both in the hospital and in the outpatient setting. The solutions were born at Carle Illinois’ Fifth Annual Fall Health Make-a-Thon Contest — a design and pitch competition organized by the Health Maker Lab that aims to advance human health and healthcare.
Teams of medical innovators were tasked with addressing a specific clinical problem identified by practicing clinicians at Carle Health or the Mayo Clinic. Four proposals were selected as winners by a panel of judges known as the Dolphin Tank. The winning ideas are listed below:
1St place win $5000
hydrocephamates (Mayo Clinic issue)
The Hydrocephamates team proposes a new Bluetooth device to monitor and troubleshoot cerebrospinal fluid flow (CSF) problems in patients with ventricular shunts. Patients with hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the brain) need these special shunts to drain fluid into the abdominal cavity and reduce potentially damaging pressure on the brain. Currently, the only way to check the shunt for fluid flow problems is through surgery. The team’s innovation is a new device that uses micromechanical hair sensors, imaged on the hairs in the ear canal, to continuously monitor fluid flow and determine if/when the shunt needs to be removed or replaced.
Participants: Megan Amber Lim (CI MED), Jaya Ganapathi (Engineering), Megan Blomberg (Engineering), Hailey Waltenburg (Engineering) and Daniella Chapman (Engineering).
2nd place win $3000
React fast (issue from Carle Health)
This team’s new Activated Clotting Time (ACTFast) test would provide near real-time blood monitoring for patients being treated with anticoagulants during cardiac and radiological procedures. The test runs a laser through the patient’s blood sample to create an image that shows how much the blood has clotted so far. A machine learning algorithm calculates and regularly updates the activated clotting time, allowing clinicians to adjust anticoagulant therapy in real time during these procedures to prevent massive blood loss.
Participants: Brian Wadugu (CI MED), Sharon Newton (Engineering), Divya Bendigeri (Engineering), Soundarya Sivakumar, Priya Kumar (Engineering) and Mobeen Haider (Resident at Carle).
NexumFlow has developed a new valve to help manage patients with hydrocephalus by continuously monitoring the outflow of cerebral spinal fluid from a ventricular shunt and automatically reporting any abnormal readings to the hospital’s electronic medical record system. The new valve would be encased in titanium, making it compatible with common neuroimaging modalities such as MRI and CT scans.
Participants: Dennison Min (CI MED), Sanskruthi Priya Guduri (CI MED), Zahra Adamji (Engineering), Christopher George (Engineering), Jaz Przybylowicz and Walker Rickord (Engineering).
“The engagement of Carle Health residents/providers and community members provided each of the teams with a very different but valuable perspective during the brainstorming sessions,” said Irfan Ahmad, CI MED Assistant Dean for Research.
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine Fall Make-a-Thon, held each year through its Health Maker Lab, challenges future medical innovators to collaborate with team members from the community and other disciplines at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to to develop innovative solutions for mainstream-based health and wellness challenges or healthcare needs. The Make-a-Thon supports Carle Illinois’ commitment to advancing healthcare and democratizing healthcare innovation.