Augustana University Students Earn Awards in 2020 Sanford HealthHack Competition

Pictured: Pawan Subedi ‘22, Taha Afzal ‘22 and Samuel Woldegiorgies ‘22 give a live virtual demostration of "Health Memo" for the 2020 Sanford HealthHack competition on Friday, November 6.

Three Augustana University students earned second place in the 2020 Sanford HealthHack competition — beginning on October 16 — in what was a two-week virtual hackathon. With their HealthHack entry called “Health Memo,” Taha Afzal ‘22, Pawan Subedi ‘22 and Samuel Woldegiorgies ‘22 also received the Audience Choice award in the competition — receiving the greatest number of votes from the public. 

Sanford HealthHack inspired Afzal, Subedi and Woldegiorgies to identify a problem in health care that millions face around the world — a difficult, sometimes dreadful experience when sharing regular updates with a primary care provider. The team wanted to take existing technologies and seamlessly integrate them to create a robust, user-friendly and convenient way to keep track of a person’s health. Their idea called “Health Memo” is an app that would allow patients — especially the elderly and those with chronic diseases — to be more engaged in tracking their health without touching their phone. The app prompts patients to create health memos when they are feeling distressed or uneasy. The memos give care providers relevant data or patterns at a quick glance, allowing for more meaningful and personalized appointments.

The second annual 2020 Sanford HealthHack was open to current college students of a U.S. college or university. The goal of the event is to discover innovative solutions to pressing real-world digital healthcare problems and spark a passion within college students (of any major) for solving health care problems. Taking part in HealthHack gives students the opportunity to put the skills they are learning in the classroom to the test in the real world. 

In 2020, Sanford HealthHack received 150 registrations and more than 20 solutions, including 10 finalists. The first place prize went to a group of two students earning their Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for their entry called “Virtual Doctor.”

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