USC Digital Health Center to Host ‘Hackathon’ to Help Those With Developmental Disabilities

Platoons of computer innovators will soon gather at a USC digital health center for an all-night “hackathon” to invent home-based “voice assistants” for seniors, veterans and those with developmental disabilities.

The USC Center for Body Computing in Playa Vista will host a “Voice Assistants for All” contest on July 12-13 to enable residents to have more control over their health care.

The winner of the hackathon challenge, cohosted by the WITH Foundation based in Palo Alto, will get a $10,000 prize. It will also allow an opportunity to collaborate with health industry leaders to bring their idea to market.

“This is an opportunity to find technology-based solutions that can empower people who are underserved by mainstream health care,” said Dr. Leslie Saxon, executive director of the USC digital health research and innovation center at Keck Medicine of USC, in a statement.

“Emerging artificial intelligence voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo might help us bridge that gap.”

Digital technology can be especially helpful to underserved patients, she said, because much of health care still exists outside a doctor’s visit. Voice assistants can serve as an effective tool to provide medical information, help with patient schedules and provide records of interaction.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.