A Software Developer, A Doctor, And an Entrepreneur Walk Into A Room…
On the weekend of October 19th to 21st, over 300 attendees ditched their lab coats, suits and ties for #HackingHealth t-shirts. A collaborative event hosted by MaRS Discovery District, Hacking Health is a coding “hackathon” where healthcare professionals, developers, creatives and entrepreneurs create an all-but-launched mobile application prototype for the health industry in just two days.
Located at the corner of College Street and University Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, MaRS Discovery District was founded in 2000 as a not-for-profit corporation commercializing medical research with the help of local private enterprise partners. This weekend’s event bred innovation in the beautiful South Tower building, adjacent to the University of Toronto’s University Health Network. Fall 2013 should see the completion of a 20-storey tower on the west side of the complex.
On the morning of Friday the 19th, the stage burst with pitch ideas and app concepts. Teams formed to fervently design and execute a practical model of an app solution over the next 48 hours. Some wondered if it should have been a RedBull sponsored event. By Sunday afternoon, the projects were critiqued before a Dragon’s Den-esque judging panel.If you tried to describe the projects demo’ed on Sunday’s stage, you would find all of them innovative,practical and beneficial. MaRS challenged the teams with sending the apps to market; demanding insight into financial viability, electronic distribution, identifying stakeholders, and next steps to launch. One of the most innovative apps to find life this weekend was @GENtleDNA, a web-based DNA coding tool. Practical apps WoundMeasure and @VeriDrug were all but completed over the course of the event; the former mapped and calculated wound healing progress using image capture technology, the latter scraped existing medical databases for drug identification.
Three Point Turn employees teamed up with creative marketing professionals to develop MyDiet, a nutritional meal plan and shopping list designed for sufferers of chronic medical conditions with specific dietary needs. The app linked RSS feeds from physicians and dieticians, along with categorized recipes from popular online cooking websites.
The event was a huge thrill for everyone. All of us at Three Point Turn would gladly tune in next year. Thanks again, MaRS, for throwing one heck of a healthcare hackathon party.