This weekend, around 200 students and professionals across different disciplines will team up to design, develop and pitch healthcare innovations in a 48-hour hackathon.

The Triangle Health Innovation Challenge (THInC) is a concept similar to Startup Weekend, but exclusively focusing on health and medicine. The annual event, now in its third year, is organized by students from Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University.

Students will collaborate to tackle “pain points” in healthcare. Last year’s program addressed problems ranging from addiction and behavioral management to clinical trials enrollment to price transparency to EMS logistics and dementia diagnostics. Some of the solutions that teams came up with include a resource platform of government services, an AI-powered diagnostic toolkit, an addiction support group app, a Yelp-like platform for medicine and an overdose prevention program.

Participants compete for first, second and third-place prizes of $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. Past THInC winners include a wearable physical therapy activity tracker, an algorithm for clinical scheduling, a VR tool for veterans struggling with PTSD, an app aiming to prevent heart failure readmissions and an EHR-integrated Apple Watch notification app.

The program begins Friday evening at Duke’s Semans Center for Health Education with dinner and a keynote address from Jean Wright, VP and chief innovation officer at Atrium Health in Charlotte.

Next, teams will form around problems and solutions of interest. Anyone can give a one-minute pitch about a healthcare-centered problem they want to work on, then participants separate into groups. In another round of pitches, participants will share the solutions they have in mind for their problem of focus. Teams form again, kicking off project development for the rest of the weekend.

Throughout the event, expert mentors within a range of disciplines will assist with clinical validation, business, design and pitch development.

Final products will be pitched in two parts on Sunday. All teams will showcase their solutions at an expo in front of a panel of judges: Amy Holcomb of Accenture, UNC Health Care System Chief Analytics Officer and System VP Jason Burke, Bamboo Mobile Health Co-Founder and President Ray Zwycewicz, Cindy Reifsnider of Innovate Carolina, Sandeep Rath of UNC’s Kenan Flagler Business School, Ziad Gellad of Duke Medical Center, Duke Engineering Director of Entrepreneurship Bill Walker and Jon Nicolla of Prepped Health and Duke Cancer Control and Population Sciences.

Teams who win the solutions expo will then pitch again in a final round, judged by Duke Chief Health Information Officer Eric Poon and Duke Global Health Innovation Center Director Krishna Udayakumar.

THInC Executive Co-Director Anita Amin, who is also a senior at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, says this year’s program is focusing on sending the message that “the healthcare innovation space is accessible to all.” Aligning with this message, organizers are bringing on the first female keynote speaker in THInC’s history.

Amin also adds, “[We’re] emphasizing looking at innovation through the lens of the quote, ‘If it is inaccessible to the poor, it is neither radical nor revolutionary.'”

The 2019 program also aims to encourage the use of emerging technologies like AR and VR. “Our goal is to increase the diversity, operability and sustainability of the products developed, making an effort to make the initial point of contact for venture and product development happen at the conference,” Amin said.

Tickets to the event cost $25 for students and participants. Observers can attend for free. Registration, available on Eventbrite, closes on Thursday.