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Duke Lecture: Hacking Medicine


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Health hackathons are events where engineers, doctors, designers, and business people come together to solve real healthcare challenges. Learn about what health hackathons are, why they are important, and how to get involved.

Talk given by Lina A. Colucci ( at Duke University on 13 February 2015. Recording of talk can be found at

Published in: Health & Medicine

Duke Lecture: Hacking Medicine

  1. 1. Hacking Medicine Lina A. Colucci 13 February 2015 at Duke University
  2. 2. “Every smart tech person I know is working in healthcare.” John Doerr, one of the most influential investors in the world
  3. 3. smartphonesat-home diagnostics wearables blood labs from finger stick
  4. 4. Democratize and Decentralize EducationBanking Photo by Mr_Stein, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Photo by Daniel Foster, “Online Shopping 4,” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
  5. 5. 22 minutes average physical exam Reference: L. Sanders, “Every Patient Tells a Story”
  6. 6. Photo by Karim Nafatni,
  7. 7. BP 120/80 BP 120/80 Jan 2013 Jan 2014
  8. 8. BP 120/80 BP 120/80 Jan 2013 Jan 2014
  9. 9. BP 120/80 BP 120/80 Jan 2013 Jan 2014
  10. 10. wellness disease to cure
  11. 11. wellness disease to keep healthy to cure
  12. 12. Medical Revolution Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UN Photo (West Darfur)
  13. 13. Healthcare’s Grand Hack
  14. 14. Medicine. Break it down. Build it up. Make it better.
  15. 15. Health Hackathons Photo by Lina A. Colucci
  16. 16. Hacking (v) - a creative application of ingenuity
  17. 17. MIT Firetruck Hack 2006 Photo by Christina Xu, “IMG72,” (CC BY-SA 2.0) "MIT firetruck hack 2006". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia (Sarahjane10784).
  18. 18. PillPack Photo courtesy
  19. 19. Photo courtesy
  20. 20. From a hackathon to over 40 US states Photo courtesy
  21. 21. How does a health hackathon work?
  22. 22. Design 25% Business 25% Technical 25% Clinical 25% Setting the stage Photo courtesy Jose Colucci Jr.
  23. 23. “Make the Breastpump Not Suck” Hackathon Photos courtesy Mason Marino
  24. 24. Hack 101
  25. 25. Open yourselves to crazy ideas Seek diverse teams Reach out for help Fail fast and change (iterate and pivot) Focus your problem Build something! Hack Do’s
  26. 26. Hack Do Not’s Worry about patenting Discuss ownership Develop too broad of a solution Be negative Monopolize the conversation Only talk… take action. Try things out!
  27. 27. The Nitty Gritty of a Hackathon Saturday 8:00am Registration opens 9:00-9:30am Opening remarks 9:30-9:50am Hackathon 101 (Rules/Format/Judging Criteria) 9:50-10:30am Problem pitching session 10:30-11:00am Mingling and team formation 11:00-11:40am Solution pitching session 11:45am - end of day Hacking + working lunch Sunday 9:00-1:00pm Hacking 1:00-3:00pm Final presentations + judging 3:00-3:30pm Speaker during judging deliberations 3:30-4:15pm Announcement of winners and closing remarks
  28. 28. How does problem selection and team formation happen?
  29. 29. Problem Pitching Mingling Solution Pitching Team Formation PhotosbyLinaA.Colucci
  30. 30. Hacking + Mentoring
  31. 31. 3 min presentation. 2 min Q&A. Panel of judges Cash prizes + “Experience” prizes Final Presentations Photos by Lina A. Colucci
  32. 32. What are some other hackathon success stories? Photo by Lina A. Colucci
  33. 33. AIR (Augmented Infant Resuscitator) Photo courtesy Kris Olson
  34. 34. Resuscitator
  35. 35. American Doctor Ugandan Doctor American Engineer Canadian Engineer Photo courtesy Kris Olson
  36. 36. AIR (Augmented Infant Resuscitator) Rendering courtesy Kris Olson
  37. 37. MIT $100K Competition Rock Health $4 Million In mid. of FDA approval Doctor + Engineers + Business Engineers + Business Doctor + Paramedic + DeveloperDoctor + Business + Software Engineer Health Box Pilot with athenahealth Customers Blueprint Health Pilot with South Shore Hospital 2 Hackathons Techstars Boston Customer Communication between ambulances and emergency rooms Improve medical practice scheduling by predicting no-shows Improve clinical information management
  38. 38. Health hackathons are having a real impact on the world ~10 companies in 3 years $18 million in funding TechStars, RockHealth, Y-Combinator, etc. Real customers, pilots, and clinical trials
  39. 39. Everywhere. "Earthmap1000x500compac" by jimht at shaw dot ca, modified by Rodrigocd - (internet archive). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. Health Hackathon
  40. 40. Map of RTP The Triangle
  41. 41. Hack in a Box Ultimate guide to organizing a health hackathon End of February (online) Grand Hack One of largest health hackathons in the world! April 24-26 MIT Media Lab Boston, MA North Carolina Hackathon September 1st health hackathon in the state!
  42. 42. Thank you
  43. 43. Learn more about health hackathons at Sign up for the MIT Hacking Medicine email list to keep up to date with health innovation & entrepreneurship opportunities See more of Lina A. Colucci’s work at Where to Learn More @MITHackMed