#WTFix Events

Thinking differently about how to help health care: Reflecting on the #WTFIX-A-THON

One of the things I love most about getting to work on What’s the Fix? is the chance to think differently about how to help change health care. Last week, we had another unique opportunity to do just that: a hackathon that brought together 19 students and recent graduates from Epicodus, Thinkful, Alchemy Code Lab and Portland State University. We deemed the first-ever #WTFIX-A-THON – a hackathon to help health care. The event was held as part of TechFest Northwest’s annual conference and was an inspiring, exciting and different way to get a new group of people excited about fixing health care problems.

Our goal for the event was simple: to put real health care issues impacting the lives of patients, caregivers and their families in front of a new group of individuals who have the power to help drive change. In this case, we focused on the tech industry and students/recent graduates because, let’s face it, they’ll be the future of driving – and demanding – change, with the power to help shape the tools and resources people need to navigate health care more easily. We wanted to see just what a group of talented and passionate individuals who are just getting started out in their coding, software development careers could come up with and we were blow away.

As we prepare for what’s next for #WTFix in 2019, I’m excited to share this quick recap of last week’s amazing event.

So, what happened at the event?

Over the course of just over 24 hours, four teams worked to create unique approaches to problems that face patients, caregivers, and their families. The teams hacked solutions related to health care price transparency, appointment tracking and access, and public health and each took on unique approaches to their solutions. Meet a few of our hackers in the video below and hear a bit about what they worked on and what drove their participation:

The Judges and Criteria:

We were thrilled to welcome a group of prestigious judges, including:

  • Maura Little, Executive Director of Cambia Grove
  • Kirk Anderson, CTO of Cambia
  • Mark Vo, VP of Engineering at HealthSparq
  • Jill Dornan, Product Marketing Lead at HealthSparq
  • Suzanne Mclemore, Principal at Echo Health Ventures

Our group of judges used the following criteria to select a winning team:

  1. Thinking about health care differently
  2. Most likely to impact those who need the most help
  3. Practicality of idea
  4. Level of idea development, research and pitch presentation

And the winner is…

Seeing what 19 talented people can come up with in 24 hours is pretty inspiring stuff. The winning team built an app that delivered a simple interface to track and plan for their appointments. You can check out what one of the participants, Tyler Corbett, had to say about the event on his blog. https://www.tylercorbett.me/home/winning-my-first-hackathon

We can’t wait to see what else comes from these amazing individuals in the future, and what else we can accomplish with new experiments and iterations on activities for What’s the Fix?