Last year, Michael Docktor, a Boston Children’s Hospital physician, became obsessed with what was going on in the start-up and healthcare spaces. After watching Rock Health, Healthbox and other accelerators, he pitched the idea of running a Boston Children’s accelerator.
“My idea was met with interest,” he says, “but basically people thought it was a lofty goal that would require a ton of money.”
But Docktor didn’t stop pushing. Instead of launching an accelerator, he and four of his colleagues (Kate Donovan, Margaret McCabe, Alex Pelletier and Judy Wang) launched Hacking Pediatrics, in collaboration with MIT’s Hacking Medicine, a pediatric hackathon focused on bringing resources to patients, clinicians and parents. During last year’s inaugural event, over 150 people met to discuss opportunities for pediatric innovations and Docktor says that it was a transformative experience for many people. “It opened people’s eyes, excited them about opportunities for bringing solutions to life, and helped people think differently about medicine,” he says. Last year’s winners, RightByte, proposed an searchable aggregation of recipes appropriate for particular food allergies and intolerances. They plan to launch in the next few months.
This year, Docktor hopes that Hacking Pediatrics will be even bigger and even better. From October 17-19, 2014, innovators, engineers, clinicians, designers, software developers, patients and parents will meet at the Microsoft NERD center to enthusiastically consider solutions to pediatric health problems.
One improvement will come from the people involved in the event. The Hacking Pediatrics team, in collaboration with MIT’s Hacking Medicine, say that they’ve already received applications from innovators from all over the country, adding a diverse perspective to healthcare concerns. Docktor also says that they’ve focused on not just bringing a crowd, but bringing the right crowd – people to help build solutions (developers and designers) as well as idea-generating clinicians.
The Hacking Pediatrics team has also partnered with a number of other organizations that will provide resources varying from Xboxes, to cloud-hosted services, to Windows phones.
“We’re also providing resources to help people build solutions using pre-existing APIs and software platforms,” Docktor says.
If you have an innovative pediatric health idea, submit your application now – and hurry, because you only have a few days left. We’ll be there and we can’t wait to bring you minute-by-minute reports of the hackathon’s results.
“I’m excited about opening people’s eyes to the concept of collaborative innovation,” Docktor says. “I think this is going to be an amazing event, with opportunities for winners to work with Boston Children’s, MassConnect, Athena Health, and even Healthbox.”
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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