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Elon Physician Assistant Studies student attends 2019 Triangle Health Innovation Challenge

Hillary McDonald, third-year PA student attended the 2019 Triangle Health Innovation Challenge (thinc) held Feb. 1-3. The 3-day hackathon held at the Duke School of Medicine joined teams of students from the Triangle's regional colleges and universities to solve pressing problems in healthcare.

With support from Elon by Design, Elon Physician Assistant Studies student Hillary McDonald attended the 2019 Triangle Health Innovation Challenge (thinc) held Feb. 1-3.

Collaborative teams actively solving problems related to healthcare.

Through curriculum infusion and workshops that partner with community organizations led by Assistant Professor Tracey Thurnes, Elon PA students have put into action design thinking to tackle healthcare issues before. When the opportunity to attend the thinc 3-day hackathon at Duke University School of Medicine, McDonald took advantage of the possibility to put these skills to use on a larger scale. 

“What surprised me the most about the event was that the problems and solutions proposed were as diverse as the group that assembled at Duke that weekend," McDonald said when asked about her experience. "Those who were spearheading the teams came from medical backgrounds, but also technical and business backgrounds as well, and they proposed ideas about everything from a tool to decode health insurance to a program to treat patients with dementia. By utilizing everyone’s unique strengths, we were able to build a semi-working prototype with a proposed business plan, and all in less than three days."

Hillary McDonald and students across regional schools join the 2019 Triangle Health Innovation Challenge.

As a result of the hackathon, McDonald's group came up with “Healthtrackr,” a program to be used in conjunction with MyChart and other patient data software to help patients interpret their test results and make informed decisions about their health. While the Healthtrackr did not make the final cut in prototypes for the weekend, she said that the experience “gave all the team members a glimpse of what it really takes to turn an idea into a reality, as well as the value of working with a diverse team in pursuit of a solution to a problem.”

More information on the 2019 Triangle Health Innovation Challenge can be found at http://www.thincweekend.org/.

Tracey Thurnes,
2/8/2019 3:55 PM