Last Saturday I participated in the Hacking 4 Health hackathon at HealthTap's offices in Palo Alto. This event drew more than 200 developers, designers, entrepreneurs and doctors who spent the day building applications using a variety of public-domain databases that the organizers had assembled.
Thirty-five teams built eighteen applications which were demonstrated at the end of the day. Our team (from left to right in the photo), Adrienne Rodgers, Benn Myers, Scott Tran, Max Chung, Christopher Herot, Chuck Huie, Yvonne Li (not shown) assembled spontaneously to build the Big Red "button that will save your life."
Big Red is an iPhone application that can be configured with the contact information for a family member or other party to be contacted in an emergency. When calamity strikes, the victim can press the Help button which dispatches a text message or email to the designated party. The recipient gets a URL which links to a Web page that displays the victim's location and directions to the nearest appropriate hospital. Although we didn't actually have time to hook up to the database, the hospital could be selected from a database such as the Medicare Hospital Outcome of Care Measures.
Like many of the teams our members had day jobs in other fields but chose to spend their weekend building something interesting and useful in health care. Scott, builds Java applications by day but built our iPhone app in a few hours. Max is a Web developer who showed his chops as a project leader, presenting the original concept and taking the team through the progression of use cases, user stories, wire frames and coding while keeping the product simple enough to be built in a day. Adrienne recently returned from a year of traveling around the world and came up with the design of our button (right). Benn did the interaction design and Chuck figured out how to send the SMS messages. My modest contribution was to find the sound effects (and recruit our designer).
It was truly impressive to feel the energy in the room and see witness the resulting creative output. Some of the other applications I saw were:
- Healthy Commute - takes data about healthy options for food and activities and plots them as detours that can be taken on the commute home
- Inside your Food - identifies foods that contain vitamins and minerals similar to the ones found in medications, providing suggestions for naturally addressing common ailments
- My Hospital - mobile apps for information about your hospital usingoutcome of care measures and patient support groups
- OSKI Health - Fast food and community health mashup
Some other coverage of the event:
- Oct 2 - Health 2.0 Developer Challenge Code-a-thon
- Oct 6 - HealthCamp SFBay 2010
- Oct 7 - Health 2.0
- Oct 21 - Connected Health Symposium