WHAT IS A HACKATHON?
HOW ARE HACKING HEALTH HACKATHONS DIFFERENT?
Hacking Health hackathons are organized all over the world by local teams aiming to find innovative solutions to front-line healthcare problems.
Our hackathons are unique because we bring a wide variety of experts together, including healthcare professionals, developers, designers, patients, advocacy groups and others passionate about healthcare innovation. The more diverse participating teams are, the more diverse and innovative solutions will be.
Hacking Health also partners with local hospitals to make it easier for doctors to participate in hackathons (sometimes, between shifts!). This approach also allows testing the solutions in development with real patients – who are usually very excited to know that their feedback is applied in real time by the hackathon teams to address important healthcare challenges.
We put a huge emphasis on engaging healthcare professionals right from the start. Not that we don’t like the idea of building the next huge social video-sharing app, but we believe that clinicians bring hard and practical problems to the table, which truly challenge and motivate designers and hackers in the room. Within this model, medical professionals learn how to adapt their ideas for a technical audience, while hackers are required to make extra effort to understand unfamiliar problems and help non-technical-domain experts refine their ideas.
WHO CAN ATTEND?
Hackers with skills – programmers, designers, and the like – are invited to join projects and work with healthcare professionals to build out ideas and develop solutions.
Healthcare professionals with ideas that require technical assistance – doctors, surgeons, nurses, administrators, etc. – are encouraged to come and present their ideas. The goal is to leverage the skills and energy of all the participants to move each idea forward.
IS THERE A COST?
Sometimes, we ask for a small fee from each participant to help us cover hard costs, such as food and space rental. Discounts are typically available for students.
CAN I GET A REFUND ONCE I’VE PURCHASED A TICKET?
Yes, but the typical deadline for refunds is a week prior to the start of the event. With only one week left until the event starts, we can only exchange your ticket if you’re able to find another participant.
WHAT IS THE GOAL?
The primary goal of each hackathon is to rapidly prototype practical ideas that could be useful in healthcare.
Our broader vision is to foster collaborative, cross-disciplinary relationships that can lead to more significant innovation down the road. Not all ideas can be prototyped within a day or a week, and many ideas lay dormant simply because domain experts do not know whom to talk to about building their ideas.
We believe that healthcare will improve as we bring technical expertise closer to front-line problems.
WHO CAN SUBMIT A PROJECT?
Anyone who brings a healthcare-related idea will have an opportunity to pitch it to the group with the goal to assemble the right team to move this idea forward.
DO PROJECTS HAVE TO BE SUBMITTED BEFOREHAND?
Several days before each hackathon, we launch a collaborative online space where you can pitch your idea, and all the participants can browse projects to see what interests them.
WHAT ABOUT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY? WHO WILL OWN MY IDEA?
As a facilitator, Hacking Health does not make any claims to IP that emerges from each event. It is up to each team to decide on the ownership of any work that is done during the hackathon. Teams generally share IP based on individual contributions and commitment, but project leads should establish it with their team in advance.
A hackathon is an ideal place to work on ideas which you are comfortable sharing with others, but this does not mean that you must give up ownership of your idea or project. Some hackathon projects lead to the founding of a real company down the road, while others are released for free to the community. It is up to each project lead to decide on a structure and communicate this to collaborators.
The risks of exposing an idea are often outweighed by the benefits of the feedback and collaboration you will receive if people get excited about your vision. If you have concerns about the IP in your project, we recommend consulting a lawyer.
If you have any questions, please email us.