Hackathon Idea Pitch

Zorash Montano, PhD

Psychologist, CHLA

Favorite Game: Candy Land

Problem/Need: About 40% of the patients (5-18 y.o.) seen in Urology have problematic urinating habits such as holding their urine. These behaviors result in daytime and nighttime urine accidents, painful urination, and can lead to infections. Patients have reported feeling embarrassed and being teased at school when they have accidents. The majority of patients and parents do not understand how their poor urinary habits are impacting the functioning of the bladder. Parents also struggle to keep track of these behaviors, which is necessary for successful treatment.

Idea: I want to create an augmented reality bladder to teach patients and families about the bladder and a game to help families track the urinating habits and receive immediate feedback when the AR bladder “reacts” to the reported behaviors.

Ameer Mody, MD

Associate Division Director, Emergency Medicine, CHLA

Favorite Game: Star Wars: Battlefront

Problem/Need: Emergency physicians work in a rigorous, high-stress, environment for long periods of time without rest or respite. They are at risk for cognitive, emotional, and physical fatigue in the short term and burnout in the long term, causing a negative impact on quality of care, safety, and finances.

Idea: Create a mobile app to enhance work performance by emergency physicians through utilization of a pre-shift ritual of guided meditation and monitoring of provider performance.

Shahrzad Sadrpour,

Physical Therapist II, CHLA

Favorite Game: Yoshi’s Story

Problem/Need: Many school age and older children are instructed to use an incentive spirometer to promote pulmonary function and endurance. It is challenging to use properly, boring, and results in low compliance.

Idea: Create a fun, interactive game (through an app or GetWell Network) to function as an incentive spirometer while engaging children in play!

Allyn Auslander,

Research Program Manager, CHLA/ Operation Smile

Favorite Game: Ticket to Ride

Problem/Need: There are currently 5 billion people without access to safe, affordable surgery and millions living with unrepaired cleft. Training a surgeon takes 10+ years and costs over a million dollars in the US. To close this gap we need to find new, innovative ways to cost-effectively train surgeons who will serve those most in need.

Idea: To build an immersive digital experience for surgeons and residents around the world to learn high-quality cleft surgery in a timely, cost-effective manner.

Anne Nguyen,

Performance Improvement Program Manager, Quality Improvement & Patient Safety

Favorite Game: Plague

Problem/Need: In an event of major disaster involving mass casualties, a Code Triage is initiated. The hospital prepares for such emergencies through bioterrorism and natural disaster drills that require staff to reunify families, triage and treat patients, and follow decontamination and/or lockdown protocol. These yearly exercises are very contained and often do not replicate the situational complexity and stress of a real-life event.

Idea: A scenario-based, multi-player mobile or virtual reality game to simulate mass casualty events can effectively train staff to respond based on their roles without employing role-play volunteers and physical resources.

Keziah Pagtakhan

Bone Marrow Transplant Patient Family-Education Committee

Favorite Game: Legend of Zelda

Problem/Need: Families of BMT patients are often overwhelmed by the amount of discharge teaching prior to going home, which leads to anxiety and readmissions due to lack of sufficient understanding.

Idea: To create a mobile app that contains BMT discharge info in a way that is accessible and engaging in order to improve patient outcomes.

Edahrline Salas,

Performance Improvement Program Manager, CHLA

Favorite Game: Monument Valley

Problem/Need: Staff education at CHLA is a fragmented experience that is sometimes the opposite of delightful. There is a dependence on email to communicate important information along with many manual processes that make it an additional burden to access. This affects thousands of employees in their ability to be well-trained and up-to-date to ensure quality of care and patient safety

Idea: Using machine learning, I want to create a fun choose-your-own-adventure chatbot-driven mobile app that will interact with the user in order to carefully curate and deliver personalized education that is easily accessible and engaging.

Anita H. Hamilton, Ph.D, ABPP-CN

Neuropsychologist, Orthopaedics

Favorite Game: Tie: Risk & Tetris

Problem/Need: Lack of commercially available biomechanical data and feedback to inform day-to-day: injury prevention, rehabilitation and athletic skill development.

Idea: This project innovatively integrates motion capture technology, wearable body sensors, biofeedback and smart phone application involving gamified data analytics to optimize recovery, prevent injury and enhance athletic skill acquisition.

Jaya Punati, MD

  • Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
  • Medical Director Colorectal Center
  • Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition | Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Favorite Game: Word Building

Pelvic floor control: Children often develop maladaptive mechanism of inappropriate pelvic floor contraction instead of relaxation during toilet training. This leads to persistent paradoxical pelvic floor contraction into adolescence and adulthood. https://www.iffgd.org/lower-gi-disorders/dyssynergic-defecation.html In the last few years, several randomized controlled trials of adults with dyssynergic defecation have been reported. While they differ significantly in the ways in which they were conducted, the studies all concluded that biofeedback therapy is superior to controlled treatment approaches such as diet, exercise, laxatives, and several other methods. In order to treat the large number of constipated patients in the community, development of a home based, self-training program will be essential. While studies underway show feasibility and promise, this has yet to be developed.

Idea: Looking for a mobile VR game that can convert pelvic floor activity into game mode. But coordinating game levels to pelvic floor relaxation, we hope to overcome pelvic floor dyssynergia.

Todd P Chang, MD

Research Director, CHLA Simulation Center

Favorite Game:

Starcraft II

Civilization VI


Problem/Need: A disaster, pandemic, or mass casualty event will overwhelm a local Emergency Department. Preparing resources to manage new and existing patients for a surge can be difficult.

Idea: A resource-management game in which an ED experiences different events to which the player must allocate personnel, transport, and equipment to manage the sudden influx and constraints

Todd P Chang, MD

Research Director, CHLA Simulation Center

Favorite Game:

Starcraft II

Civilization VI


Problem/Need: Poor team communication among doctors & nurses in a pediatric resuscitation leads to poor performance & death. Team simulations are operationally difficult & costly

Idea: A multi-player game in which players with unique healthcare skills manage a pediatric resuscitation to practice crisis team communication skills



Favorite Game: Grim Fandango Street Fighter

Problem/Need:Pediatric anxiety and depression are on the rise. Mindfulness is a proven health solution, but there is no standard AR therapy.

Idea: Tao Tao gamifies tried-and-true mindfulness exercises to reduce anxiety and promote integrative healing with AR character-driven play.

Learn more: playtaotao.com

Jon Detterich & Jennifer Miller,

Pediatric Cardiologists, CHLA

Favorite Game: Football

Problem/Need: In congenital heart disease no two heart lesions are the same. 3D modeling allows for a better understanding of spatial orientation and allows for more precise surgical planning. 3D modeling can also serve as a tool for teaching. MRI and CT data can be used to create 3D reconstructions but the models are currently displayed on a 2D computer screen or made into printed models which require precise cuts and often multiple models to fully visualize the lesions.

Idea: I want to construct 3D models in Virtual Reality of my patients hearts to better understand their lesions and to help the surgeons develop the best possible surgical approach to fixing their lesions!


Eduardo Montez,

Training Coordinator, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Favorite Game: Billiards

Problem/Need: Active shooter events occur far to often in America and throughout the World resulting in the loss of countless lives. There is a need to increase awareness, prevention and response strategies for active shooter events.
FBI Active Shooter Resources can be found at: https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-resources

Idea: I want to build an augmented or virtual reality mobile app for raising awareness about active shooter awareness, prevention and response in a fun and engaging way

Bryant Edwards,

Occupational Therapy Manager, CHLA

Favorite Game: Zelda

Problem/Need: In order to maximize therapeutic benefits, we often provide home activities for families to do. However, there is not a good, pediatric-focused home activity/home exercise program that can meet our families’ needs and be linked to our EMR.

Idea: Build an augmented reality app utilizing characters/avatars that can motivate, model and track home activities as assigned by therapists.

Bryant Edwards,

Occupational Therapy Manager, CHLA

Favorite Game: Zelda

Problem/Need: Adolescents with special needs require specific training opportunities to build cognitive, perceptual, reaction and motor skills to learn to drive.

Idea: Build augmented reality simulation equipment, complete with adaptive steering/pedal attachments, to begin to assess and enhance foundational skills for driving.

Bryant Edwards,

Occupational Therapy Manager, CHLA

Favorite Game: Zelda

Problem/Need: Patients in the acute hospital setting are limited in applying skills in real-world contexts, such as pedestrian safety, interacting with retailers, and completing financial transactions.

Idea: Build a virtual reality app that allows patients to work on cognitive, speech and language skills in a community setting (store, street, metro, etc.).

Bryant Edwards,

Occupational Therapy Manager, CHLA

Favorite Game: Zelda

Problem/Need: Younger patients often become overwhelmed and don’t participate in swallow studies in the radiology suite.

Idea: Build an virtual reality experience to expose younger patients to the visual and auditory elements of the swallow study environment.

Mallory Chavannes,

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Gastroenterology, CHLA

Favorite Game: Sonic the Hedgehog on Classic Sega

Problem/Need: Self-efficacy is the concept of being able to cope with disease and manage own healthcare. Improved self-efficacy is linked with improved outcome and remission in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Idea: Build a story game, based on life situations (i.e. “Episode” for iOS) to teach and demonstrate how to face various life situations in teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease.

Nicole F. Albers,

Team Lead–Art Therapist

Expressive Arts & Therapies

Favorite Game: Rockband

Problem/Need: Patients experience a number of different feelings while being in the hospital. They can’t always verbalize what’s going on or know how to handle it.

Idea: I want to create a mobile app where you can track your mood and increase use of coping skills.

Thomas Keens MD Sheila Kun RN

Pediatric Pulmonology CHLA

Favorite Game: Monopoly

Problem/Need: Children who cannot sustain adequate breathing are managed at home on home mechanical ventilation (HMV) via tracheostomy. They had a mortality rate of 20%. Half of these incidences are preventable. Home health nurses and home caregivers need HMV emergency training. Need emergency training in the home setting.

Idea: We want to build a virtual reality mobile app for home health nurses.

Jamie Price

Cofounder, Stop, Breathe & Think

Favorite Game: Hide & Seek with my 2 year old

Problem/Need: Young patients often feel stressed, lonely and anxious. Patients need accessible support to help them develop positive coping skills.

Idea: Build a VR app combining mindfulness, sensory input & easter egg style exploration to decrease anxiety & bring joy to CHLA patients.

Rian Brooks,

Manager Human Resources, CHLA

Favorite Game: Harthstone

Problem/Need: Improve the annual “Performance Review” document concept. Occurs annually; given by one leader, rating scale 1-5, very subjective, single point-of-view feedback

Idea: Create an app that allows for live-real time feedback from all stakeholders across CHLA. App sends all members feedback request, post each meeting or project. Real time. Information is aggregated and the “system” rates you based on crowd-sourced feedback. How you are showing up to your peers? Are you disengaged during meetings or collaborative? Your leader shares this w/ you, quarterly. Based on the feedback and goal tracking, you receive quarterly merit incentives verses once annually.

Outcome: Gives leadership a window into how their team member shows up to the enterprise and how they are viewed. Allows for quick, course correction if things are negative. A leader can check on their people in real time. Gives continuous small rewards on a quarterly basis vs. once a year. The system complies the data for the leader. Less administrative headache.

Jay D. Pruetz, MD

Pediatric Cardiologist Fetal Cardiology Program Director, CHLA

Favorite Game: FIFA Soccer

Problem/Need: Performing pediatric echocardiograms can be very challenging in our youngest patients. It can be a stressful procedure for the child and family that often is timely and results in a poor quality study. This information, however, is critical to making care decisions for the child and require sedating the child. We need a better way to keep the child calm and still so that the diagnostic echo can be performed efficiently and effectively with minimal stress to the patient and family.

Idea: Create an interactive game (AR or VR) that can be placed on or near the child during the exam. Target age is 2-4 years old. Length of game is 20-30min. Child must be laying prone or on side and will be able to use one hand, but minimal movement is best.

Jay D. Pruetz, MD,

Pediatric Cardiologist Fetal Cardiology Program Director, CHLA

Favorite Game: FIFA Soccer

Problem/Need: Our patients with complex forms of congenital heart disease (CHD) will eventually age out of pediatrics need to transition to adult cardiology care. This process has been difficult for patients and families often because the patient is not prepared to make the transition as the parents have managed all of their care. Patients are not enabled or empowered to take responsibility for their care and too often are lost to follow up. Only to present later with serious conditions or complications due to lack of proper follow up care.

Idea: Create an interactive application that can educate young adult patients on their heart conditions and need for long term follow up. It should also act as a platform to connect them with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) programs and give them regular updates on their specific condition from the medical community.

Jennifer Raymond, MD, MCR

Clinical Director of Diabetes Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, CHLA

Favorite Game: Tetris

Problem/Need: The lack of a fun, engaging, and empowering Type 1 diabetes mobile game app for patients, between 4 and 13 years of age who are newly diagnosed or struggling with diabetes self-management, and their families and friends.

Idea: We want to create an age-appropriate mobile game app(s) that can help young patients and their families learn basic Type 1 diabetes self-management skills with a positive perception.

Zoë Baker

Clinical Research Coordinator II,

CHLA – Urology

Favorite Game: Scattergories

Problem/Need: VCUGs and MAG3s are urologic scans that are clinically important, but can cause pain and anxiety to children, as they require urethral catheterization. These scans are common – over 1,100/year at CHLA. They are also the least tolerated of GU scans in terms of pain, anxiety, and psychological distress. Many children, especially aged 3-6, cannot complete the scan, and must reschedule with sedation. We want to find a non-pharmacological solution to relieve pain and anxiety for these children.

Idea: AR for children aged 3+ years undergoing VCUG/MAG3s. AR will distract children from pain & anxiety and allow them to see their surroundings.