Hacking Hemophilia in Japan

Physicians, engineers and designers brainstorm on making life better for patients.

Hemophilia Health Care Hackathon in Tokyo recently hosted by CSL Behring Japan
A Hemophilia Health Care Hackathon was recently hosted by CSL Behring Japan in Tokyo.

You might have heard about “life hacks” (clever shortcuts) or computer hacking, but what happens at a health care hackathon?

CSL Behring Japan recently hosted a Hemophilia Health Care Hackathon in Tokyo, where medical experts collaborated with other creative, skilled professionals on a brainstorming mission designed to improve the lives of patients. The event follows on an earlier Hemophilia Hackathon, co-sponsored by CSL Behring and the National Hemophilia Foundation, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017.

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Complex topics require more than a few hours, so participants – many of whom didn’t know much about hemophilia at the beginning – spent two days on the topic. In Tokyo, they listened and learned from Professor Kagehiro Amano of Tokyo Medical College and Dr. Kenichi Kojima of Ogikubo Hospital. Then they got to work, breaking down the daily struggles for patients whose blood does not clot properly, putting them at risk of excessive bleeding and joint damage.

 

For someone who has hemophilia, staying healthy often means regular intravenous infusions of clotting factor. What sort of products and services could reduce the hassles and improve health and quality of life? As hackathon teams collaborated, they filled white boards with notes and ideas, aiming to quickly develop concepts and presentations. Participants said the marathon sessions left them inspired, tired and satisfied.

Here are a few of their innovative solutions for unmet medical needs:

  • a service that supports information sharing between patients and medical staff through “Internet of Things” technology
  • a fun mobile app that helps patients better manage their infusion record

Dr. Amano said the two-day process inspired out of the box thinking.

“It was exciting seeing so many ideas pop up one after another,” he said.

Many of the ideas born at the hackathon are feasible and deserve further exploration, said Jean-Marc Morange, General Manager, CSL Behring Japan. He said the event exemplified patient focus and innovation, two of the company’s values.

“This project really brings these values to life. We hope to implement some of the projects in the short-term, or in the future as we expand this platform for other therapeutic areas,” he said.