'Un-conference' votes on projects that innovate in healthcare

Sept. 24, 2013 at 11:58 PM

BOSTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- An "un-conference" in Boston that brought bright minds together to tackle pressing healthcare problems awarded funds to form a medical online network.

On the third and final day of the un-conference, teams gathered to pitch innovative ideas. Attendees texted their votes of support, "just like American Idol," said Chris McCarthy, director of ILN at Kaiser Permanente.

During a lunch, eight groups had 2 minutes apiece to describe their projects and why they were important. Teams selected one of three funding categories: $12,500, $7,500, and $2,500.

The teams were allowed 90 seconds to answer questions before the final boot. Audience members scored each group, marking one number for the general worth of the idea and another for how solid it was as an ILN project.

Some groups wanted to duplicate existing programs such as Health Leads, a program begun at Boston Medical Center in 1996 that seeks to address all patients' basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care, or the clinics at the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program, BU Today said.

Others proposed weaning Boston's homeless population from tobacco through the introduction of e-cigarettes, while others hoped to begin an ILN Carbon War Room -- to measure the organization's carbon footprint.

Conference participant voted and Global Lab for Innovation in Health earned the $12,500 prize, which members said they will use to build an online network for healthcare professionals to exchange information about innovative and sustainable solutions to complex medical problems.

A second group suggesting e-cigarettes for the homeless took home $7,500, while the group pitching Community Care Connect, which will mimic the Health Leads model in another part of the country, earned $2,500.

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