Last weekend’s Hacking Pediatrics 2.0, the 2nd annual hackathon from Boston Children’s Hospital held at Microsoft New England, was a billowing ray of hope for a revolution in healthcare that will transform our current system.
After inspiring the over 200 attendees with a panel discussion on Friday night and three very personal healthcare stories early Saturday morning, 37 people rose to pitch their ideas in one minute or less. These pitches included:
- Accurate, rapid fabrication of custom tracheostomy tubes for children
- Making it easier to find the right therapist,
- Better ways to manage asthma and monitor use of inhalers,
- Non-invasive early detection of infection for patients with in-dwelling catheters,
- Free over-the-counter sample medications delivered directly to the home,
- Improving time and adherence to home physical therapy,
- Reducing adverse drug reactions with genomic information,
- Promoting healthy behaviors,
- Preventing child abuse,
- Finding health resources in the community for children with special needs,
- Improving communication, collaboration and accountability across the care continuum to reduce readmissions,
- End-to-end childhood vaccine management
As the weekend unfolded, we watched many of these ideas evolve to solutions, we saw solutions being enabled with innovative technologies, we heard amazing product names emerge from thin air and we witnessed fledgling businesses at their point of creation. By 2pm on Sunday, 21 business plans were filed to a shared drive. Each team gave of their best in a three minute presentation to a panel of four judges.
I am a firm believer that in this day and age technology is arguably the most important enabler for a transformative healthcare solution. We saw the full gamut of enabling technologies embedded in the solutions @Hacking Pediatrics. These technologies hold enormous hope for transforming healthcare:
- cloud computing and intelligent machine learning
- 3D printing
- big data
- gamification of health
- social media
“Today’s $3.8 trillion dollar healthcare industry is in the deceptive phase of its march towards dematerialization, demonetization and democratization,” — Peter Diamandis, Forbes. Sensors and AI democratize and demonetize accurate early diagnosis, large-scale genomic sequencing and machine learning allow us to understand the root cause of adverse drug interactions, 3D printing makes custom tracheostomy tubes cost-effective for all, and social media brings together patients, families and caregivers in one large care community like has never happened before.
There were winners and prizes for the hackathon, but really we were all winners, the entire world, because out of this event and many others like it will emerge a new form of healthcare that meets the needs of the 21st century. Hacking Pediatrics was a window into this new world.