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Press release


Charité starts 2020 Healthcare Hackathon

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University hospitals pool expertise for COVID-19 app development

A joint press release by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Universitätsmedizin Mainz and Verband der Universitätsklinika Deutschlands e.V.

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Universitätsmedizin Mainz will act as joint hosts for the launch of this year’s Healthcare Hackathon on 18 May 2020. Due to the current situation, the launch of the 2020 season of interactive events will be held almost exclusively online. Aimed specifically at university hospitals, the Hackathon will bring together experts from all over Germany. The objective is to work together to address challenges created by the current pandemic and develop digital solutions for implementation in all relevant hospitals. The Hackathon is one of the first projects realized under the auspices of the new German academic research network. The kick-off event will be opened by video message from both Anja Karliczek, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Jens Spahn, the Federal Minister of Health.

The Healthcare Hackathon is dedicated to endeavors in the fields of digital care, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, chatbot systems, emergency medicine and prevention, as well as the development of apps for use by patients and physicians. This year’s event has one additional focus: Projects which support efforts pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants from 23 university hospitals will use the agile Healthcare Hackathon format to meet online to develop a concept for pooling multiple locally developed digital solutions. The event is supported by co-organizer Verband der Universitätsklinika Deutschland e.V. (VUD) - the association representing German university hospitals. The VUD sees the event’s online format as a chance for participants to join forces to develop digital solutions for subsequent cross-site implementation. The current crisis has certainly demonstrated how many areas of Germany have benefited from the use of fully developed digital solutions, and how these can help address crisis-related challenges quickly and flexibly.

“Whether these involve smart information systems for patients and staff or enable the app-based collection of important research data, a fully developed digital strategy and a network of connected hospitals could help alleviate local pressures and play an important role in medical care delivery. Data collection, apps and networking represent important building blocks of the academic research network for which Charité acts as coordinator,” says Charité’s Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Dr. Heyo K. Kroemer. He adds: “I am delighted that this project has been able to attract experts from so many university hospitals.”

As part of the Berlin Hackathon’s kick-off event, participants will have the opportunity to choose five different sessions dedicated to COVID-19-related apps and data collection strategies . Participants will also be provided with essential information on the next two Hackathon events in Kiel and Mainz. The Healthcare Hackathon is of interest to physicians, developers and clinical staff, providing an opportunity to critically review and optimize long-standing and often outdated processes. “The implementation of an overarching digital network which connects different hospitals is of particular importance during a crisis,” says PD Dr. Christian Elsner, Business Director of Universitätsmedizin Mainz. Summing up his conclusions, he says: “Each and every hospital stands to benefit if different institutions wave goodbye to isolated digital solutions in favor of digital collaboration.”

The Healthcare Hackathon, which will be based at Charité, will take place on 18 May 2020, between 10 AM and 4 PM. The event is open to university hospitals and interested parties from other sectors. For further information and to register for the event:

The Healthcare Hackathon in Berlin
‘Rethinking Health Care’ is easiest to achieve when interdisciplinary teams of clinical staff, IT experts and lateral thinkers are given clearly defined parameters and encouraged to develop creative solutions for specific problems. The Hackathon’s motto is ‘Let’s have a go’ and was developed for precisely this purpose. It is the result of a collaboration with the Health Innovation Hub of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the University Medical Center Mainz, the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, and the VUD (the association representing German university hospitals). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that academic medicine-based (research) endeavors in the area of ‘COVID-19-related apps and data collection’ should be coordinated and pursue a common strategy. Achieving this will be the focus of the 2020 Hackathon.

A national network of academic medical research into COVID-19
In an effort to pool and strengthen efforts aimed at tackling the current pandemic, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has decided to support a new academic research network dedicated to COVID-19-related research. Initiated and coordinated by Charité, the new network will receive €150 million in funding for one year. The program, which aims to ensure optimal medical care for patients with COVID-19, is set up to provide direct support quickly and effectively. A particular focus will be on translational and health services research with the aim of using findings to directly inform and support health care (and crisis) management. The academic research network will promote the systematic and comprehensive exchange of knowledge between research partners. The aim is to use jointly developed innovations in research and patient care, the pursuit of evidence-based practice and mutual learning to develop a joint approach for our fight against the current pandemic.


Healthcare Hackathon


Media contact Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Manuela Zingl
Corporate Spokesperson
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
t: +49 30 450 570 400

Media contact Universitätsmedizin Mainz:
Dr. Tasso Enzweiler
Stabsstelle Unternehmenskommunikation/Corporate Communications
Universitätsmedizin Mainz
t: +49 6131 17-7424

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