Part 2: Interview with Founder Erik Andersen, RN – Hack Tips & Trends

This blog is the second part of an interview with Erik Andersen, R.N., Founder of Please visit this link for the first segment of the interview.


What is an example of something you thought might have been hack-worthy, but never made it? Why didn’t it make it? 

Here is one that previously may not have garnered much attention but has received renewed interest in our current COVID framework. In the recent Nurse Hack 4 Health Competition sponsored by J&J, SONSIEL and Microsoft, one team proposed an idea called HereNow. HereNow proposes a cloud-based, patient-specific storage site where family members can upload short video and audio clips to share with their family member in the hospital, without the need for nurse intervention or exposure. Just a few months ago this was not a significant unmet need, but in today’s world of isolated COVID patients, it suddenly has immediate relevance. Sometimes the right idea just needs the right timing.

You identify LifeFlow as an important hack. What makes LifeFlow fall into this category? What impact has LifeFlow had on your patient care?

I have to say, I love LifeFlow. I remember when we went through the in-service when I was in the ER, we had an 80-year old lady arrive septic and hypotensive with dangerously low BP of 80/40. I remember asking: “Hey, can I get the LifeFlow and use it?” We gave a liter in 3 minutes and she immediately became more responsive, her blood pressure rising to 110/60. To me it’s a hack because it makes addressing a clinical problem so easy. You set it up, squeeze it and you’re quickly delivering fluids – no batteries or electricity needed. I love it as a simple solution.

What tips do you have for a nurse who learns about NurseHack and is inspired to develop one or more hacks?

I think this begins with recognizing when you are frustrated in a situation and, rather than allowing that emotion to take over, brainstorming how you could make improvements. This mindset empowers you to develop new ideas and potential solutions. Once you have an idea and try it for yourself, check with other nurses and get their input. A key aspect of developing great hacks is getting feedback from other smart, experienced clinicians. I would be thrilled to learn that NurseHack had inspired someone to rethink their experiences with a “fix-it” lens, and NurseHack is a great place to share those ideas and help other clinicians.

Where do you see NurseHack in 2-3 years from now?

I am currently working on a web app – a mobile platform that would allow registered clinicians to take a quick picture or video of their hack, categorize it, and share quickly. This is intended to allow rapid interaction with the opportunity for up-voting so that the best hacks are the easiest to find. I’d like users to be able to find information most relevant to them, such as categorization by department so that you could first see listed hacks that apply to their needs, hopefully making their lives a little easier.

Lastly, do you see COVID-19 impacting how nurses adapt and “hack” moving forward?

Early on in COVID I knew that there were so many adjustments that needed to be made, and quickly.  Many clinicians didn’t have the right PPE and yet it didn’t stop them from helping patients. It really demonstrates the altruism of the profession. The volume of hacks I’ve seen in the last month or two has been amazing. It shows that many nurses are engaged in rapidly identifying and addressing these new challenges through self-determined adaptations. It’s wonderful that there are many well run institutions that are listening to bedside nurses and seeking out their suggestions, taking a humble posture and using the ideas that work best. This empowers their staff to ideate and improve delivery of care. I hope to see this become the standard moving forward and built NurseHack to help do exactly that.


Interested in LifeFlow? Learn more here.