Table 1

Award-winning teams and their project status 2 years after the hackathon

TeamChallengeSolutionProject status 2 years after the hackathon
1MSF surgeons sometimes use a headlamp for surgery, not only with a surgical light but also as a main light during power cuts. However, medical headlamps are expensive and outdoor headlamps are often used. Is there a way to provide an appropriate surgical headlamp for surgeons in humanitarian surgical care?An affordable headlamp with adequate lighting focus for surgery using modern LED technology that might even replace expensive free-standing surgical lights in the futureThe team met bimonthly for a year and developed specifications for a surgical headlamp. They developed an early-stage prototype and tested it with a few surgeons. However, refinement of the prototype was not possible because of its technological difficulties. The project stopped at this stage.
2Surgical drills are expensive and often unavailable in low-resource settings, forcing hospitals to resort to inefficient hand drills, which require more time and effort. Is there a way to drill bones in humanitarian surgical care in order to perform bone surgery safely but affordably?A drill cover that makes any DIY drill suitable for surgical useThe team met only once after the event. Around the same time, another company, which produces a similar product, had raised substantial funding and was willing to adapt its product to suit MSF’s needs. So the team and MSF decided to discontinue the project.
3Using surgical scissors that are not sharp enough is a common frustration for surgeons in MSF. How can we keep surgical scissors in optimal condition?A tag identification system: this allows scissors to be sorted according to sharpness and those that do not cut well to be removed from the operation room supply systemThe team conducted a survey to further investigate the problem. An interesting finding was that local staff do not necessarily know how to properly choose and use different types of scissors, which may cause damage to the scissors. While the team is not active anymore, MSF is investigating their findings further.
4After surgery, patients are transferred to a ward where medical staff are scarce. Observation is intermittent as continuous monitoring for each patient is too expensive. Surgeons are frustrated that patient observation is not adequate. How can we ensure appropriate observation of patients after surgery?A state-of-the-art camera device: this monitors several vital signs and the data are shown on a smartphone or tabletThe proposal was named a ‘moon-shot’, with its far-sighted monitoring technology. However, the iteration process to make the solution realistically low-tech meant that its clinical impact became questionable. This modified solution did not raise enough interest for MSF to invest further in it. The interest of the team diminished to continue iterating the concept.
  • DIY, do-it-yourself; LED, light-emitting diode; MSF, Médecins Sans Frontières.