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Think You Can Hack Medicine In a Weekend?

by Andrea Ippolito, MIT PhD student and Co-Lead of MIT H@cking Medicine

I know what you coders and developers are thinking: How can anyone possibly hack medicine in a single weekend? Before you start rattling off statistics surrounding today’s massive health care costs in the US or clamor on about the incredible number of stakeholders in the space, let me tell you about a few development teams who got their start at hack-a-thons and have proven it can be done… yes, in two days.

  • Pill Pack simplifies the pharmacy experience by filling, sorting, and delivering medications to you in personalized packets based on when you need to take them.
  • The BETH project (Benevolent Technologies for Health) has developed an adjustable prosthetic socket that brings significant cost savings to the multi-million dollar prosthetic care industry and struggles to meet the needs of low-income patients especially in developing countries.
  • Smart Scheduling has developed an application that takes the guesswork out of patient scheduling. It optimizes the day’s appointments at medical practices to improve access to care.

Fine, fine, but in a weekend? Well, athenahealth and Hacking Medicine are teaming up for a three-day hack-a-thon event that brings together inventive, forward-thinking minds to change the status quo in health care, just like the organizations listed above. If you are an engineer, entrepreneur, physician, designer or scientist, then come get involved to help drive much-needed industry changes.

By weekend’s end, we’ll have a team, cash prizes, and a hack that will take its first steps towards disrupting health care. Past teams at hack-a-thons just like this one have gone on to found companies, enter business plan competitions and secure venture funding.

The hack-a-thon will take place May 3-5, kicking off with a social event where you can meet other attendees (and get free appetizers!) at Mead Hall located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. The hack-a-thon will then take place at athenahealth’s main campus, 400 Arsenal St. in Watertown, MA. athenahealth will pay round-trip cab fare for attendees, so it’s easy to get to the event (if you apply and are accepted, more details will follow). And we’ll cover all food for the weekend, too.

Come hack EHRs, medical claims, diagnostics or whatever your hacker heart desires. Health care is huge, troubled and in need of your help. No excuses. So what are you waiting for? Apply to the hack-a-thon now! We're selecting 120 people just like you.

This hack-a-thon is part of athenahealth’s “More Disruption Please” (MDP) innovation and partnership program that targets like-minded innovators, entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and individuals who share our vision of making health care work as it should through openness and connectivity of disruptive solutions.

Follow the MDP team on Twitter at @athenaMDP.

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