What is a healthcare hackathon? Generally speaking, a healthcare hackathon is a social event that focuses on building small and innovative technology projects that aim to resolve healthcare challenges. “Hackathon” is a portmanteau of the words “hack” and “marathon,” which in turn translates into some kind of race against the clock to solve challenges.
MIT Hacking Medicine founded in 2011, is made up of MIT students and community members with the goal of innovating the healthcare community and driving new medical innovations. The MIT group meet this goal by carrying out innovative events like healthcare hackathons; amazingly, they host more than 80 healthcare hackathons a year. MIT Hacking Medicine even has a free handbook that serves as a resource for anyone interested in hosting similar kinds of healthcare hackathons in their respective communities.
Here in the Pacific Northwest Region, Washington State University’s (WSU) Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM) Hackathon is very much inspired by the MIT Hacking Medicine model of healthcare hackathons, with a few interesting modifications. Their first hackathon in 2018 tackled the theme of addressing rural health challenges in Washington State, with prizes awarded to the top three hackathon teams at the event. Building off that success, WSU will be hosting another healthcare hackathon from April 12th – 14th, with the overarching theme of innovating solutions that will tackle behavioral health challenges, a pressing issue in Washington State today.
WSU welcomes patients, students, faculty, developers, caregivers, and more to attend their second healthcare hackathon. What makes the WSU ESFCOM healthcare hackathon unique from other healthcare hackathons is the research and reference presence of academic librarians who provide research services to the hackathon participants throughout the event.
Applications to participate in the ESFCOM Hackathon are due by April 5th, 2019. For more information about this exciting Washington State event, please contact WSU’s College Technology Incubator Officer Andrew Richards.