After teams are formed, it’s crunch time: groups work long hours until they present their solutions to the judges. They’re usually given a period of 36 to 48 hours to work on their ideas, and hackathons will typically provide copious amounts of food and caffeinated beverages to facilitate all-nighters so that teams can make the most of their relatively brief time together.
Of note is that some hackathons – HackFit, for example – have worked to make these long weekends healthier, eliminating overnights, incorporating group runs and yoga classes, and providing healthy food. Certain organizers have also played around with the lengths of these weekends, as physicians are rarely able to take more than one day off of work to attend a hackathon.
“The typical hackathon in Boston usually runs a weekend, starting Friday evening, and culminating in a Pitch-Off on Sunday afternoon,” says MedTech Boston’s Dr. Jennifer Joe. “The biggest problem that I’ve seen is engaging clinicians in this long of a time commitment, as most young physicians (residents and fellows) only have four days off a month while working 80 hour weeks. I’d be interested in seeing models of a hackathon that allow for greater physician engagement.”
Brendan Pease was MedTech Boston's first ever editorial and events intern. He is now a junior at Harvard University where he studies Molecular and Cellular Biology. He’s also the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Science Review. Previously, he worked as a Market Intelligence intern at athenahealth and as a research assistant in the Goldberg Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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