Hacking Health Tech: TokBox at HackHLTH Las Vegas

health tech hackhlth with TokBox

Recently, my colleagues and I were in Las Vegas sponsoring HackHLTH at the inaugural HLTH conference on the future of healthcare  The hackathon was geared towards building health tech solutions that would improve the health industry and create a more robust ecosystem. In little more than 24 hours there were over 80 projects from over 250 participants.

Many of those projects took advantage of the OpenTok platform to include live video in their apps. It’s a testament to the great work of the TokBox engineering team that it’s so quick and easy to get live video up and running. I was proud to see teams build such a variety of solutions in such a short space of time.

Support groups growing over live video

Among a wide variety of doctor-patient applications, we saw several support group applications designed to help individuals. One such application, Mindfull, used the user’s activity from their FitBit and detected activity out of the ordinary. Based on an ML model, the application would actively seek to detect unusual activity. This then triggered an alert prompting the user to video chat with someone in their support group.

Similarly, another team created an iOS app, GLU, which connected individuals with their support groups over live video.

Innovating for health services

Other use cases included connecting patients with mental health experts over live video. One of these applications, Cork, created a scheduling app for appointments. This went together with an interactive questionnaire, including a PHQ-9 (a professional tool used to monitor the severity of depression).  Together, this app helps keep mental health experts engaged with their patients before their appointments.

We also saw an interesting use case which used live video along with AI to detect and diagnose bug bites. If the AI failed to classify the bug bite, the patient would then connect over live video with a nearby doctor. This is a great example where video is used as a next level service if immediate self-help options aren’t able to resolve a problem. 

A winning combination

Our $2000 hackathon prize winner, Team TeleCare, created a mobile application that connected doctors and patients while a third endpoint running our beta MacOS SDK evaluated the patient’s heart and breathing rate. They achieved this by running computer vision on the patient’s face and body in real-time – an AI vision approach that has recently been explored at MIT and other research labs. This background analysis can then be made available as augmented information for the doctor or health practitioner in real-time while they talk with the patient, without the need for patient-side instruments.

health tech hackathon hackhlth TokBox winners

Team TeleCare, shown above fourth from left to seventh from left along with our four TokBox staffers, were Mitchell Ang, Yonni Luu, Tiffany Wu, and Kelvin Chan, who met originally at The University of British Columbia.

We believe that this combination of live video and media processing will become more and more common within healthcare apps. As access to services which analyze things like speech, facial expression, behavior and vital signs improves, I’m looking forward to seeing these combinations become mainstream in health tech.

Changing the face of health tech

As well as these stand-out apps, I saw a lot of great ideas over the weekend. A lot of the teams at the hackathon worked towards solutions for important healthcare challenges. Decreasing doctor exhaustion, increasing doctor-patient conversations (for example by having interactive bots engage before the patient conversation), and limiting patient appointment cancellations were all a focus. As health tech develops and more applications like these are adopted, the whole patient journey will be completely transformed. 

All in all, it was a great weekend with participants creating an impressive range of projects. To support the hackathon participants, I hosted a workshop where I went over using the OpenTok API with Web, iOS, Android, Cordova, and even React Native. It was great to see participants go on to use these tools, especially developers who were new to OpenTok.

I’d love to meet you at a hackathon soon! Keep an eye out for announcements about the events we’ll be participating in (follow us on Twitter @tokbox). In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our growing collection of webinars where I dive in deep on specific live video development topics.