A hackathon is typically a one or two day competition that brings together people with a broad range of backgrounds, skills and expertise, to discuss, brainstorm, and create technical solutions in response to a particular problem. Everyone volunteers their time including the mentors and judges fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation.
Health hackathons appear to have started off in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) in 2012 with a weekend-long hackathon to encourage collaboration between healthcare professionals and IT experts. The idea took hold and quickly expanded to other cities in Canada, USA, Australia, NZ and beyond.
The first hackathon held in NZ was introduced by Dr Karen Day and held at the University of Auckland.
Hackathons in NZ
Health Hackathon 18-20 March 2016
"Solving Self-care aims to stimulate innovative thinking about technology solutions for people with long term health issues to help them track and record their healthcare plan, and progress and outcomes, in order to improve their overall wellbeing."
The evening started with some great speakers, including presentations from Microsoft,
- Hackathon webpage University of Auckland
- Health Hackathon blog & FAQs - Dr Karen Day's blog website
- Baby Bump winners Pharmacy Today
Health Hackathons 2015
The first Health Hackathon was run in February 2015 and was hosted by Health Informatics NZ and the University of Auckland at the Tamaki Innovation Campus in Glen Innes.
Led by Dr Karen Day, director for the postgraduate programme in health informatics and teaches associated courses, Karen conducted some research as part of the hackathon event, into ‘stimulating innovative health care solutions’.
Seven groups presented solutions to the judges by the end of the weekend. The winners were the 'Fight the fever' group led by Dr Alison Leversha, a community paediatrician. Their solution focused on a vulnerable group of young people who struggle to keep up the routine of monthly antibiotic injections which are needed for ten years following a diagnosis of rheumatic fever. Their solution consisted of an app with an appointment diary, a way to engage and activate their support network when injections are late, a game to keep users engaged, plus clever use of incentives and rewards such as a free phone top-up.
“This health hackathon is an opportunity for people with a range of expertise to get together to work on technical solutions for people with health problems,” says Karen Day. “They volunteer their time, talents and energy to collaborate on developing technology solutions – in this case to solve the problem of self-care for long-term health issues.”
Wellington June 2015
A further event was held in Wellington and the winning team was "DBT Me" for their innovative app that supports clinicians in the mental health field. Led by team leader Dion Howard, a registered nurse from Capital & Coast DHB. Read more on the HINZ website.
Health Hackathon Handbook, MIT Health Hacking Medicine
The Healthcare Hackathon Handbook is a complete step-by-step guide on how to organize a healthcare hackathon.
The handbook was created "to accelerate the development of global healthcare entrepreneurship ecosystems and catalyze the formation of disruptive healthcare ventures." In light of this purpose, the content is completely public for all to view and use. View the MIT Hackathon Handbook and website.
- Health Hackathon - Solving self-care University of Auckland
- Hacking Health Website
- NHS Hack Days
- Bridging the gap between doctors and hackers to upgrade healthcare - Globe and Mail
- A weekend of designing better healthcare - Techvibes
- Doctors and developers hacking their way to better healthcare - CTV News
- Hacking healthcare in a good way - Macleans
- Hacking Health: Bottom-up innovation for healthcare - Time and Innovation Management Review