Analytics hackathon sparks innovation for health care


Predictive models and medical image analysis have the potential to transform health care delivery. To accelerate innovative approaches in health analytics, teams around the world are participating in a global hackathon. In scientific communities, it's well-known that the fastest way to drive progress and discover new ideas is collaboration with peers across industry, government and academia -- and that's exactly what this hackathon will accomplish.

The global hackathon invites those with a curious mind to join forces to tackle important questions in the field of health and life sciences. SAS, along with Intel, Microsoft and Core Compete, have provided a cloud infrastructure to facilitate the analysis and visualization of big data. Teams bring their data and their challenges, then compete to have their ideas recognized and potentially commercialized for public use.

While the hackathon is open to participants from all industries, the overwhelming majority of teams are focused on health. Nearly one third of all the 100 accepted challenges belong to this category. Here are just a few examples which are further explained in the online Hacker’s Hub Health Track:

  • Incorporating biometrics, such as gait, into patient evaluations.
  • Automating the workflow of adverse event reporting.
  • Predicting future demand for medical imaging to optimize resources.
  • Detecting sepsis and other hospital acquired infections earlier.
  • Supporting cancer patients with personalized chatbots fueled by data and natural language processing.

In addition to these examples, there's a sub-track of 6 teams focused solely on preventing childhood obesity. This track is led by the Swedish government's innovation program SWElife, and has participation from public and private organizations in several countries. The ideas range from basic digitization for better research perspectives, improving food labeling information systems, or developing a gamification app for “Good Food Detectives”.

The hackathon jury, built from top experts in their field, are selecting finalists and regional winners this month. The best ideas will be presented at SAS Global Forum 2021 and, if applicable, receive an invitation to join the newly formed innovation initiative SAS Vector Labs.

European health care organizations invited to join separate AI hackathon

With this heightened focus on innovation in European health care, Microsoft has launched a short sprint hackathon from April 21 to May 15 focused on AI in health care. As the only analytics partner, SAS joins NVIDIA and Microsoft in offering a platform for hackathon teams to rapidly innovate in three specific use case areas:

  1. AI applied to medical imaging.
  2. Predictive medicine.
  3. Empowering patients.

These ideas, even before final implementation, prove one major hypothesis: Analytics can contribute significantly to modern health care! These innovations will substantially change the way we experience health care, improving both patient outcomes and clinician experience.

Register today for SAS Global Forum to hear first-hand from the hackathon winners -- and discover more health use cases from executive presentations at the conference.


About Author

Alyssa Farrell

Advisory Industry Marketing Manager, SAS

Alyssa Farrell leads industry marketing for the SAS Global Health and Life Sciences Practice. In this role, she focuses on the SAS solutions that help optimize health outcomes for individuals and their communities. Alyssa is actively engaged in analyst relations, market research and influencer marketing to stay on top of industry trends and align SAS capabilities to customer needs. She has also supported the global energy and public sector teams during her career at SAS. Prior to joining SAS in 2004, Alyssa was a senior consultant in the Deloitte Public Sector practice. She earned her MBA degree with a concentration in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Duke University. Follow Alyssa on Twitter @alyssa_farrell and LinkedIn at

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