Over 4,500 people took part in last weekend’s #VersusVirus hackathon, making it the largest event of its kind that has ever been held in Switzerland. Six hundred teams took on the challenge of finding solutions to the COVID-19 crisis in just 48 hours and making a positive contribution to the situation in Switzerland.

More than 500 challenges were submitted to #VersusVirus in the run-up to the event – challenges that Switzerland is facing in the current crisis in various sectors such as social care, the economy, healthcare and crime prevention.

UBS also joined forces and took part with a team of 14 people – with great success! Their project was one of the 42 highlighted by the jury. The team wanted their project to tackle an issue on which there is an urgent need for action, but it should also be one that can continue to be developed once the coronavirus crisis is over. The result should generate long-term added value for medical professionals. For these reasons, the UBS team developed the ICUCH – Capacity Tracer.

The idea: The ICUCH – Capacity Tracer shows Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed availability across all Swiss hospitals and forecasts trends over the coming days and weeks. In this way, it will help medical professionals to identify bottlenecks and forecast spare capacity as early as possible. Hospitals benefit from the solution because they can use it to reallocate patients, meaning they no longer have to work at the limit of their capacity. In an optimal scenario, therefore, the physical and mental burden on staff will be reduced and the patients will receive better care.

The challenge was a real success. The diverse and well-balanced team of men and women from nine different countries and speaking 12 languages followed their shared objective over a period of 48 hours. Within that short space of time, the UBS team managed to develop a prototype of their application.

So what happens next?

Planning is now under way on the next steps that are required to put the ICUCH – Capacity Tracer into operation. The team is working with the cantons and hospitals to assess how they and their expertise can be brought in. The UBS team will continue to manage and support their project after the hackathon. The goal is to implement the ICUCH – Capacity Tracer and make it available to everyone who needs it. Furthermore, the tool has been developed in such a way that additional functionalities can be added. Among other things, these include further medical services such as the availability of vaccinations and life support machines. And of course it was also important to the UBS team that the solution can be offered outside of Switzerland, too – after all, we are all affected by the coronavirus crisis and can only overcome it together.

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