Carle Illinois College Of Medicine Seeks Community Input For Health Care Innovation

augmented reality

University of Illinois IT technical associate Rob Wallace uses hand gestures to control an augmented-reality headset.

Carle Illinois College of Medicine

The Carle Illinois College of Medicine wants Champaign county residents from all walks of life to submit their ideas for improving health care.

The goal of Health Make-A-Thon program is to remove traditional barriers to health care innovation, said Marty Burke, associate dean of the engineering-based medical school.

The kind of technology often needed to “bring your idea out of your head and into your hand… tends to only be available to a very small subset of the population,” Burke said. “We believe there are so many ideas out there that society is missing out on because of these barriers.”

The new competition will help make the billion-dollar “maker lab” infrastructure at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign available to anyone in the community who has a great idea, he said.

Burke encourages anyone with even a “kernel of an idea” to submit it to the competition.

The deadline for submissions is March 11.

Twenty people will be selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at an event on April 13, at the Beckman Institute in Urbana.

Of those contestants, ten will be chosen to receive $10,000 in Health Maker Lab resources and get matched with experts on the U of I campus who will help them bring their ideas to life.

One of those experts is Rachel Switzky, who leads the U of I’s Siebel Center for Design. She said many people have great ideas but don’t know how to take them to the next level.

“And the next level could sound really daunting to people,” Switzky said. “I have this idea, but how am I going to get it produced?”

Switzky said no idea is a bad idea—and part of her role as a judge and mentor will be to coach people create a prototype of their idea, get feedback from users and incorporate that feedback into improving the final design.

To come up with a good idea, Switzky’s advice is to start with the two key components of “design thinking”: observation and empathy.

“So if you see someone having difficulty, or you see a challenge or barrier… a barrier, to me, is just an opportunity area for design,” Switzky said.

The next community meeting to discuss the Health Make-A-Thon is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 at the Common Ground Co-op in Urbana.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman

Story source: WILL