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Health System Challenges Students to Design Patient-Centered Apps

Atrium Health Navicent's Center for Disruption and Innovation, in partnership with Hutchings College and Career Academy and Mercer University, recently challenged local students to collaborate in order to solve real-world problems through innovation and technology.

Through the App Challenge (#Code4Care), held at Peyton Anderson Cancer Center, Atrium Health Navicent January 23-24, high school and college students were asked to design, code and prototype patient-centered apps from start to finish, with a goal of navigating patients and their loved ones through the continuum of care, including retail offerings.

"This challenge was an opportunity for Atrium Health Navicent to connect with some of the brightest young minds in central Georgia and give them an opportunity to solve real-world problems that affect their community. It also connected local high school students with local college students in an effort to create invaluable experiences in teamwork and opportunities amongst institutions for future collaborations," said Simeon Sessley, Executive Director of Center for Disruption and Innovation, Atrium Health Navicent.

Five teams, each comprised of two Mercer University students and two Hutchings students, presented prototypes that addressed the following topics: campus navigation, dietary education, onsite meal ordering, surgical wait times and follow up, and physician information and education.

"I really loved the experience overall. Something that drew me to this was that it had a real-world application. My group actually got to meet with a patient and sit in as he was educated on his new dietary restrictions. It showed us that this was someone's real life and this could potentially really help him," said Tabita Strimbu, a senior at Mercer University studying graphic design.

Each participant received a prize bag for participating. One high school student and one college student also received an Apple iPad.

"The Healthcare App Challenge affords students in Bibb County School District the opportunity to engage in a non-traditional learning environment that will allow them to walk away with stackable credentials and relevant connections aligned to real-world experiences by participating with a collaborative team of a subject matter expert, college students and peers in the field of IT and healthcare. This type of learning environment brings out an unstoppable amount of creativity/innovation and prepares students for an emerging global society," said Dr. Cassandra Washington, CTAE Director for the Bibb County School District.

"Mercer's Department of Computer Science is excited to partner with Atrium Health Navicent and Hutchings College and Career Academy for this App Challenge, which gives our students a tremendous opportunity to work with healthcare professionals, as well as with high school students, in a creative, valuable, real-world endeavor," said Dr. Bob Allen, professor and chair of computer science.

Atrium Health Navicent looks forward to hosting future App Challenges for students. For more information, please search #Code4Care.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent was incorporated on November 17, 1994, as a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate the Medical Center, Navicent Health and other affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive continuum of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services to the region. Atrium Health Navicent has 830 beds for medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice purposes. The health system includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, a nationally recognized tertiary teaching hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric hospital; Medical Center of Peach County, Atrium Health Navicent, a rural critical access hospital; Rehabilitation Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, the region's oldest and most experienced rehabilitation provider; Pine Pointe, Atrium Health Navicent, which provides palliative and hospice care in homes and in its facility; Carlyle Place, Atrium Health Navicent, the area's first continuing care retirement community; Navicent Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Atrium Health Navicent; as well as diagnostic and home care services. For more information, please visit