Mylan Hackathon Develops Innovative Problem Solving Mechanisms for Healthcare Challenges

The world of technology is moving faster than ever - thanks to the invention of artificial intelligence. Today, technology is no more just about accessing information and compiling data but rather about changing the way we live our lives.

Major tech companies across the globe are fighting various challenges posed to humanity and they’re able to fight these challenges via artificial intelligence -which enables our lives to be not bound by any sort of shackles. In a similar bid to work towards change, the city of Bengaluru recently had the Mylan hackathon.

Having gotten the opportunity to cover the event up close and personally, I have got a lot to share with you. This hackathon was related primarily to the medical field - which is arguably the most important in our lives. Even the slightest development in the medical field impacts thousands, if not more lives.

Mylan - the company which organized this event is a pharmaceutical company. They have got a solid vision for our global world, which is to provide top-notch healthcare medicines to the world’s population. The Mylan company as a brand takes pride in being one of the rarest companies in this segment of business to host a hackathon. You’d usually not come across this mix and match of pharma with tech but when the world is moving at a tech pace, why not pharma!

The energy at the Mylan hackathon was one that gave a sense of extreme positivity. With 62 teams participating in this unique event, you could sense how each individual of these teams was thinking out of the box and indulging in something that was an idea that could potentially impact and change lives.

The event compromised of 5 key challenges, out of which the participants were supposed to pick just one. The challenges, in brief, were as follows : -

  1. Tracking Mylan products: the idea of shipments going from one country to another without proper record keeping is a nightmare. The supply routes of these medicines is often complex and full of ends wherein there’s very little the company can do to tap into exact location. The participants were asked to create a system which could effectively manage this supply chain system and enable tracking to ensure timely delivery of medicines across the globe.
  2. Patient post-medicine usage tracking: in developing parts of the world, the tracking of a medicine post its launch and impact on consumers are often not ideal. The system should be stern to check the maximum benefit of the medicine and how able it is to solve the disease at hand. In order to fight this problem, the participants were asked to come up with ideas of proper patient tracking.
  3. Reporting from consumers: it is very easy to understand but yet difficult to implement task I.e. consumer feedback upon purchase of a medicine. In India, many people of old age often take medicines that don’t suit them or results in side effects. The medicine manufacturer has very little idea of the event and with no knowledge of it; there’s nothing done to curb the problem. The participants were asked to prepare a mechanism where apart from the email that is written at the back of the cover, the consumers could find an easier way to contact the medicine manufacturer regarding the side effects.
  4. Technology backed diagnosis: the participants had to come up with ideas of how early cancer detection - purely based on technology can be implemented. It is a fact that many people in India - due to their remote locations are unable to meet a doctor at the right time and by the time they do come into the metro cities and get checked, they’re at a stage where it gets very difficult to help them survive. It’ll be life-saving if a mechanism can be created which automatically detects reports without the location of resources problem.
  5. Tuberculosis: it is a disease that has taken many lives in India. 60,000 children in India died in 2015 due to TB. The income groups that are most impacted are below the middle-class range. The problem why TB deaths are so high in India is because there is a great lack of knowledge on this disease. Even those children who recover from TB (after 6months or 1 year) stop taking the requisite medicines and are then found to be suffering from DR-TB

The event was a massive success since it saw a participation of over 550 individuals in 62 teams. Out of this, the event saw 252 members being shortlisted for the final challenge. The final challenge was held on the 13th and the 14th of October.

The second day saw the teams decreasing from 62 to the final shortlisted tally of 45. The teams were required to come up with their unique problem-solving skills to combat the above quotes 5 problems. They were judged on certain key parameters like : -

  1. Uniqueness
  2. Radical Thinking
  3. Other technical and non-technical aspects

After this round, the last and final round saw 10 teams being selected. From 62 to 45 to 10 - the battle was tough but the quality of ideas and what was at stake - the ability to change how the pharma world works; was keeping the energy levels very high in the Mylan Hackathon.

The problem solving via innovative mechanisms focused on key areas like : 

  1. Blockchain
  2. Artificial Intelligence
  3. Imaging Science

Through providing unique and innovative ideas to combat the problem of tuberculosis in India, the professional hackathon was won by team Smart from Atos - receiving a grand prize money of Rs 1,00,000.

In the student’s category, Sri Sairam Institute of Technology came out victorious with providing solutions on the Mylan ARV drugs tracking of supply chain problem. They received the prize money of Rs 1,00,000.

In the employee’s category, team Shamiroh won the prize money of Rs1,00,000 as well for coming up with key solutions on early cancer detection and diagnosis.

Thus, a great Hackathon concluded. As an audience to the event, one could get the feeling of where the world of medicine and technology are together headed. The possibilities are endless and this Mylan Hackathon only goes to show how AI can open countless amount of doors to improve human life in the coming years.