If you wanted to see one of the most energetic presentations at BIO 2015 in Philadelphia you needed to attend the Idea Design Studio Hacking Medicine session put on by MIT. Ned McCague (pictured below) led things off and continued to use his high energy style to keep the attendees not only engaged, but also to help get them actively involved and do some work.
The team of presenters and facilitators posed the idea that anyone can improve the healthcare system because everyone has been a patient. Their view is that by bringing together clinicians, designers, researchers, administrators, and patients for a 48 hour session you can break challenges down to manageable pieces and solve healthcare problems.
At BIO 2015 the challenge was to try to accomplish something similar in just 4 hours and the MIT Hacking Medicine team was up for the challenge.
They broke the room into 8 groups based on specific problems identified by the participants and rolled up their sleeves to find solutions and at the end, do a pitch to the whole room. Participants are free to use whatever approach they see fit and for this session also had worksheets for "healthcare re-design + new venture discovery
" to help kick-start the process. (full sessions have a much more complete handbook)
The mix of skills, backgrounds, and energy has made hackathons a catalyst for change and even on a much smaller scale, the BIO 2015 morning was no different.
Ned McCague and Chris Lee joined me for an interview soon after the session was finished. Here's our conversation
which I started off by getting an idea of what a hackathon is not