10 Teams. 12 Hours. One Hackathon.

The Mobile Heartbeat team hosted our first ever hackathon recently at our headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. In the face of technological difficulties, time constraints and good old-fashioned bugs, our employees spent 12 grueling hours bringing their ideas to life.

What Is a Hackathon?

We’re glad you asked. A hackathon isn’t about hacking into computers or compromising security. Rather, it’s an opportunity for our employees to take a day to work together on new ideas, passion projects and improvements to the MH-CURE platform.

Hackathons have been criticized in the past for producing a lot of vaporware—typically, participants are given free rein over what they’ll be working on, so you get a lot of unfocused, pie-in-the-sky ideas. That’s why we decided to do a Mobile Heartbeat-specific hackathon, in order to innovate around our communication platform.

“I thought it was the time to help bring people from different groups within Mobile Heartbeat together,” said Brian McKee, our engineering manager, who first came up with the idea. “A hackathon is about innovation, team building, doing something you don’t normally do at work and having fun.”

Hacking the MH-CURE Platform

Out of the 45 ideas our employees came up with, we selected the 10 strongest pitches and organized into teams. From there, each team (roughly five people each) worked diligently throughout the day to put together a working prototype or a proof of concept.


Projects ranged in scope and involvement, from implementing new device-tracking systems to updating photo capture technology. While each concept was unique, they all had one thing in common: They each brought additional value and functionality to our product.

Because the teams only had 12 hours to produce a working proof of concept, it was all hands on deck from the start. Mobile Heartbeat is fortunate to have dedicated staff—many team members arrived before 7 a.m. to get started, and they were all still there, plugging away, well after sunset.

“The best part was that there was no real competition during the hackathon. Members of one team were willing to spend precious time during the event helping other teams,” McKee said. “My team ran into a technical issue and a member of another team helped us resolve it, even though they were busy working on their idea. The hackathon was truly about building teamwork.”

There Can Only Be One Winner (or Four)

Just as those initial 45 ideas had to be whittled down to 10, only one of the 10 would be crowned victorious. Two runner-up ideas were selected as second and third place, and an additional fourth prize was awarded for the most cross-functional team, meaning the project team had non-developer hackers.

“I wasn’t sure if many of our employees outside engineering knew what a hackathon was,” McKee said. “Even if it was just engineering, I did think we could come up with some creative ideas, build some prototypes, and just have fun for a day. However, it exceeded my expectations as employees from marketing, support, solutions, project management, sales and business development all participated.”

Each hacker on the winning teams was awarded a cash prize, and the first-place team will also receive resources to implement their idea on a larger scale.

Everyone is excited for next year’s hackathon. At the rate our company is growing, next year’s event could be much bigger in size.

“I’ve been told by numerous people that it was their best day so far at Mobile Heartbeat,” McKee said. “It wasn’t just about making MH-CURE better, but making our internal processes better, too.”

Get Excited for MHUG 2018!

We’re a little less than a month away from our second annual Mobile Heartbeat User Group conference, and we couldn’t be more excited to see you all in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. We’re ready to get down to business—with an agenda packed full of VIP speakers and innovation sessions, you’re sure to come away with new learnings, ideas and strategies to make an impact on clinical communication and collaboration at your organization.

Our speakers this year include clinical and operational leaders from several prestigious medical centers, and have specializations in clinical team data, device management and physician engagement. These experts will be sharing accomplishments and lessons learned on topics like:

  • Developing strategies and frameworks to track the impact of the MH-CURE platform alongside other clinical and operational systems.
  • Best practices for managing large fleets of hospital-owned devices, from install to deployment to ongoing upgrades and maintenance.
  • Engaging users and encouraging adoption of CC&C across all functional roles in the healthcare enterprise.

In addition to our client presentations, attendees will enjoy breakout sessions tackling problems around clinical communication data, technical dashboard setup, end-user responsibility, alert management and more. These innovation sessions will provide customers with the tools they need to fully take advantage of all the functionality MH-CURE has to offer.

Get to know our speakers a little better before MHUG:

  • Annette Brown, Director of Clinical Informatics at Eisenhower Medical Center
  • Heather Johnson, Application Director at Hospital Corporation of America
  • Michelle Fisher, BSN, RN, RNC-OB, Clinical Informatics Specialist at Lancaster General Hospital
  • Robert Crupi, MD, Chief of Corporate Health and Wellness at New York-Presbyterian
  • Samantha Herold, Clinical Engineering Integrations and Imaging at Yale New Haven Health

From the Mobile Heartbeat team, attendees can expect to gain an exclusive look into the 2019 roadmap and the longer-term strategy of the MH-CURE Platform. You will meet:

  • Bill Nussdorfer, Head of Product
  • James Webb, VP of Professional Services
  • Mike Detjen, Chief Operating Officer
  • Ron Remy, Chief Executive Officer
  • Saji Aravind, Chief Technology Officer
  • Tyler Gayman, Product Manager

We hope you’re as excited as we are for MHUG 2018.

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Building a Mobility Team (With a Little Help From Mobile Heartbeat)

Rolling out an enterprise communication platform at your hospital can seem like a massive undertaking—with so many moving parts, where do you even begin? Mobile Heartbeat will guide you through every step of the installation process, and one of the most crucial things that we do is set you up for operational success. Our goal is to create a client team that can support you and keep your clinical workflow moving smoothly.

I’ve learned a lot during my eight years at Mobile Heartbeat—we’re installed in 120 hospitals now and recently hit 100,000 monthly active users. With such a robust foundation, I’ve seen it all in terms of implementations, so I know what can go right and what can go wrong.

Every hospital is different, so knowing how to compile a mobility team that works for your specific hospital can feel like a daunting task. However, my goal is to make this process easier for you, so I’ve compiled this guide of best practices so you have an idea of where to begin.

1. Assign a Dedicated Tech-Savvy Project Manager

A considerable amount of planning and cross-functional collaboration is necessary to enable effective communication in healthcare environments. For this reason, your project manager should understand the value of implementing a clinical communication platform like MH-CURE. They should also be able to coordinate the various departments that need to be involved in making this a success.

As clinical communication spans both the technical and clinical sides of a hospital, it helps to have someone that is already familiar with both sides—this could be someone involved in rolling out EMR updates or CPOE. The most successful projects we’ve run tend to start with an infrastructure and a well-defined process for connecting to alerting systems. These systems could support standard nurse call use cases or advanced AI-based alerting use cases such as sepsis prevention. Regardless, having a process in place to integrate with an alerting system is key. Therefore, the project manager should be comfortable with technology and able to deliver against the benchmarks your clinical leadership has set.

2. Visionary Clinical Leaders Are Key

Without a comprehensive understanding of your hospital’s clinical workflows, your mobile communication solution may not be as successful as you’d like. For that reason, clinical leadership should understand the time-, cost- and life-saving measures a communication platform can offer each of the care teams.

I’ve seen multiple clients face an uphill battle when they don’t engage the clinical leadership team early enough—they aren’t able to set the policy required to build up their core network, and it can derail the whole project.Fortunately, a little preparation can help you avoid this problem. Our Clinical Implementation team will help you:

  • Set your smartphone policy.
  • Highlight clinical workflows to address.
  • Create a communication plan to educate and inform your users.
  • Provide a set of benchmarks you can measure success against.

3. Get A Product Owner Who Can Deliver

A great product owner will be the driving force for executing on and delivering the vision that clinical leadership has. This person should be able to leverage our growing platform for minimal end-user disruptions, application updates and monthly security patches.

Many hospitals have specific workflow needs when setting up their communication systems, and the product owner is responsible for communicating those needs to us during installation. We partner with all of our sites and often, the product owner’s requests help us develop communication workflows to bring users back to the bedside. For the application enhancements to be available you need a team that can manage the devices.

4. Find Your “Glass Team”

A number of organizations are developing a mobile device management (MDM) team or a “glass team” that provides support for anything with a touchscreen. These teams tend to fit very well into the established IT departments at our client hospitals.

While building a glass team might not be possible at smaller hospitals, we recommend it because MDM contributes to the mobility of clinicians. MDM is also a key component of our rollout, and we work with our clients on the front line to keep MH-CURE working for your clinical teams.

The practice of tracking and maintaining mobile devices has improved significantly over the years but is still far behind the desktop PC tools that are available. Device tracking is an ongoing process that we will help put in place to keep devices available to end users, fully charged with the applications that are needed.

5. Establish A Support Team

As with any new technology, the first point of escalation for users is contacting the support team. That’s why establishing a support team is so important when you’re rolling out a new communication platform.

We have worked with a number of different support teams and can develop a support matrix to provide a timely and efficient response to end-user issues, from device Wi-Fi problems to nurse call alert optimization. We also organize training sessions and provide materials to keep your support team up-to-date on new releases and solutions.

With your mobility team in place, you’re one step closer to implementing practices for effective communication in healthcare. Fortunately, Mobile Heartbeat can help you the rest of the way. Learn more about how we can transform the way you communicate with your clinical team.