Wall Street Journal features HackingMedicine

‘Hackathons’ Aim to Solve Health Care’s Ills

Problem-Solving Sessions Popularized by Software Community Take Off in Medicine

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Hackathons, the high-octane, all-night problem-solving sessions popularized by the software-coding community, are making their way into the more traditional world of health care.

At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a recent event called Hacking Medicine’s Grand Hackfest attracted more than 450 people to work for one weekend on possible solutions to problems involving diabetes, rare diseases, global health and information technology used at hospitals.

Health institutions such as New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have held hackathons. MIT, meantime, has co-sponsored health hackathons in India, Spain and Uganda.

Hackathons of all kinds are increasingly popular. Intel Corp. INTC +2.13% recently bought a group that organizes them. Companies hoping to spark creative thinking sponsor them. And student-run hackathons have turned into intercollegiate competitions.

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