A key highlight of the recent MIT Hacking Medicine D.C. Grand Hack, which Samsung hosted together with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), was seeing the amazing innovations brought forth by the Samsung Breakthroughs That Matter award winners. Event participants were tasked with inventing new ways to take on the VHA’s greatest challenges, and team CrowdAid rose to the occasion, winning in the category of Access to Healthcare.

The CrowdAid team — consisting of Chul Ahn, Jongyeon Kim, Elly Meng, Alex Wassel and Dominique Vervoort — developed the concept for a mobile crowdsourcing platform that applies the best aspects of the gig economy to help veterans without insurance and who may not be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare.

Connecting Communities for Better Healthcare

The application allows donors to contribute funds in a way that is sustainable and easy for both donors and veterans to use. It incorporates features such as the ability to file a claim, book a hospital appointment, find a care facility, check funds available for each hospital, and make secure virtual payment transactions with systems like Samsung Pay via a blockchain-based data protection architecture.

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“We really put an emphasis on using SDKs [software development kits] and the Samsung Knox platform while embracing the Galaxy Note9’s developer feature. The Samsung APIs [application programming interfaces] helped us solve basic crowdfunding app problems such as transparency, marketing and the unseen impact. These were solved through our secured payments using blockchain, having a current location that incentivizes people to donate to their local veterans community and through our notifications feature,” said Wassel.

CrowdAid encourages donors by showing the local community impact of their contributions, for example, by providing immediate feedback on how money was used, what illness was treated and how far away the veteran lives, while ensuring bidirectional anonymity. The hope is that CrowdAid can be further developed and deployed to not only raise new funds, but also bring greater awareness to veterans in need of financial healthcare support.

Crowdsourcing Breakthroughs

Samsung Breakthroughs That Matter award winners were chosen based on which teams most effectively leveraged Samsung’s Galaxy Note9, Gear S3, software development kits (SDKs) and the Samsung Knox platform to create a transformative digital health solution with the potential to improve veteran care quality and access. Winning team members received a Note9 smartphone and ongoing access to Samsung Developer Program mentors and resources to continue developing their solutions after the D.C. Grand Hack concluded.

“Not knowing each other until that Friday night, we all came with a common goal: disrupting healthcare innovation. And with all our diverse backgrounds, expertise and interests, we attempted to do so while helping the veteran community. As depicted by our detailed business model as a startup, we are ready to further implement and expand this project to a higher level,” concluded Wassel.

Other winners in the MIT Hacking Medicine D.C. Grand Hack included team SAIF in the category of Mental Health and Professional Burnout for an artificial intelligence (AI) program that flags mental and emotional distress to enable early intervention, and team KeyWatch in the category of Rare and Orphan Diseases for a continuous patient monitoring solution to reduce misdiagnosis of rare diseases. Past Samsung Breakthroughs That Matter award winners include teams Simulacron and Match Perch.

The MIT Hacking Medicine events aim to energize, infect and teach healthcare entrepreneurship and digital strategies to scale medicine as a way to help solve problems worldwide. For more information and upcoming events, visit hackingmedicine.mit.edu.

Explore the future of population health management in our conversation with Suzanne Shirley, entrepreneur in residence at the VA. Are your clinical communications getting the job done? Take this free assessment to find out.

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Chris Balcik

Chris Balcik currently serves as Vice President and Head of Mobile B2B at Samsung Electronics America. With over 26 years experience, including management consulting with the Department of Defense and other Federal clients, Chris has deep expertise in organizational transformation and the role of technology. Prior to his current role, he led Federal government sales for Samsung’s Mobile B2B division. Prior to that, he assisted public and private sector clients including the FAA, DNI and DoD on complex, large-scale systems engineering and technology transformations, concept of operations design, program management, business case analysis, and business process optimization. Prior to entering the civilian workforce, Chris was an Officer in the United States Air Force leading Command and Control support to military operations.

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