Community-sourced tech targets coronavirus

Originally published at Dataconomy.

From a shortage of medical equipment to caring for patients remotely, Data Natives’ global community tackled the most pressing problems Greece is facing due to COVID-19 during HackCoronaGreece online hackathon.

Some weeks ago, here in Europe, we were looking at the news headlines about the coronavirus outbreak in China and did not expect it to affect our daily lives. Right now, there is no community in the world that hasn’t been impacted by the coronavirus crisis in one way or another.

The rapid spread of coronavirus ravaged healthcare systems, economies and social lives beyond health concerns – think layoffs, data privacy and fears of global surveillance.

However, it also paved the way for community-sourced solutions to flourish with individuals choosing to spend their isolation time differently – teaming up with like-minded people and fighting the crisis together with healthcare professionals and governments.

An example of such a “citizen-to-government” project was HackCoronaGreece online hackathon (April 2nd-13th, 2020) initiated by Data Natives with the support of the Greek Ministry of Digital Governance. The hackathon quickly gathered over 2000 enthusiasts, among which 400 selected data scientists, developers, project managers, designers, healthcare experts, and educators formed 54 teams to produce immediately available digital solutions tackling the main pain points the greek healthcare and social systems are facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

These teams worked tirelessly to create systems able to track the capacity, supply chain & demand management for hospitals, support call center/hotlines, help doctors care for patients remotely with telemedicine solutions, analyze the pandemic and create forecast systems and open-source hardware tool for medical personnel. By the end of this high-intensity low-sleep marathon, the evaluation committee and hacking teams gathered online to announce 8 winners of the HackCoronaGreece hackathon.

“This hackathon is an opportunity to modernize the Greek Health System. Taking this step could the everyday lives of our citizens.”

Vassilis Kontozamanis, Deputy Minister at the Greek Ministry of Health

The evaluation criteria were based on the innovative potential of the proposed solution, the positive impact it can have on society, the overall applicability and feasibility of the solution as well as the quality of the technical implementation.

The symptom monitoring and GDPR-compliant data gathering usable for forecasts, real-time tracking, and even long-term COVID-19 recovery research solutions thrived during the hackathon.

Hackit-19 team (1st place) created an easy-to-use app to help individuals, families, and decision-makers to navigate through daily life based on self-reported symptoms and the COVID-19 heat map.

“Greek leadership in this crisis demonstrated the ability of aggregating the best characteristics of our culture”

Charis Lambropoulos, Head of Athens Incubator for Startups

The second place went to team SMARTY who developed an intelligent decision support tool (web-based app) designed to detect undiagnosed cases of COVID-19. Team Survivors (4th place) came up with a reporting app for patients recovering from COVID-19 to self-report on their recovery process (full recovery can take years for patients with severe cases). The data gathered will be laid as a foundation for monitoring, research and policymaking. Keeping the data privacy concerns in mind, the GDPR-proof GPS data tracking mobile solution was offered by ΓΝΩΜΩΝ (Gnomon) team (won the 6th place).

Another HackCoronaGreece team, Assistant Volunteer (3rd place), focused on facilitating community support and created a volunteer resource management system designed to support citizens in need and allow for planning volunteer missions and operations, registry management and volunteer communication.

“This is a great chance for people who have exciting and innovative ideas to get in touch with the Greek government and collaborate to transform these ideas into tangible solutions”

Elpida Kyriakou, IT manager, EVAGGELISMOS Hospital

Other winning teams focused their efforts on helping healthcare workers stay protected with an open-source protective face shield that can be promptly mass-produced in large quantities (COVID-19 Response Greece – Face Shield team won the 5th place), enhancing the COVID-19 drug safety via a knowledge graph (OpenPVSignal COVID19 Knowledge Graph, 5th place) and working on a telemedicine solution that is applicable to 90% of telemedicine systems worldwide via a text message (Emergency Solution, 8th place).

The foundation for action was laid, and the Greek Ministry of Digital Governance is continuing to work with communities via its digital innovation initiatives – yet another proof that “times of crisis can bring people together quickly to create immediate solutions in an agile manner, focus on what matters most and push the innovation forward” as mentioned by Elena Poughia, MD at Dataconomy and CEO at Data Natives.

About HackCorona initiative:

HackCorona hackathons are an initiative of the Data Natives and Dataconomy, a community of 78000+ tech professionals, data enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and activists. After gathering over 1700 hackers and producing 23 digital solutions to help the world fight the COVID-19 outbreak during the 48-hour long virtual hackathon on March 20th-22nd, Data Natives & Dataconomy brought the concept to Greece.

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