Why Did We Go to the Rural Medicine Hackathon?

March 27, 2015
iVantage Health

By Michael Topchik, Senior Vice President

As you may have seen, iVantage was an active sponsor and participant at the Rural Medicine Hackathon, held last weekend in Montana. We think it was a unique opportunity to help rural healthcare providers and our clients advance new solutions. But how? Below I’ve taken the time to share some of my thoughts on why we supported this effort and how we view innovations like these as part of our commitment to transforming the healthcare landscape.

Connecting Data to Real-World Healthcare Solutions

Held last weekend at the University of Montana, the two-day competition allowed teams to present their ideas for developing new tools or products to help solve a particular problem experienced by medical facilities or professionals who serve rural areas. The event was sponsored by Frontier Medicine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Blackstone LaunchPad, and iVantage and included a faculty member from the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. We provided the teams with access during the event to our Hospital Strength INDEX– a vast database of public data on hospital quality, financial performance, patient satisfaction, and operational measures.

There were nine teams and projects in all and the crowd favorite award was the “Primary Care Montana,” a project designed to help rural hospitals better market themselves to recruit desperately needed physicians – a chronic problem in rural areas of the country.

I was lucky enough to be a member of a team of entrepreneurs who created a real-time patient satisfaction survey for rural hospitals, using game technology and geodata and win the nation’s first Hacking Rural Medicine event. Our winning project was called “We Care, You Count,” and it was developed by a team from Missoula-based Geodata Services, Allevant Solutions, Health Management Associates, Livingston Health Care and iVantage.

The team developed an innovative concept which enables the capture and reporting of real-time point-of-service customer satisfaction data collection platform. The platform is designed to bring hospitals into the 21st century customer feedback loop and address the change currently underway as the industry shifts from volume-based services to values-based services.

A Good Fit

At iVantage, we not only work closely with individual hospitals every day to address their unique performance improvement challenges but have leveraged our data and expertise to help advocate and raise awareness of the fragile state of the rural health safety net which is under threat from policy, working closely with the National Rural Health Association and such leaders as the Frontier for Better Health Partnership in Montana.

Our commitment to technical innovation balanced with a dedication to customer needs is at the core of what we do best at iVantage, and we were excited to find those same qualities in many of the folks who attended. The ability to connect the right people at this special, first-time event and come up with new solutions which might take data from charts and tables to real-world solutions and enable hospitals to improve their performance aligns perfectly with where healthcare needs to head in the future.

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