Hacking Emergency Care

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October 19-20 2019

Boston University BUILD Lab

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What is hack/ED?

Hack/ED is a student and trainee run non-profit event designed to bring creative minds together to solve problems in medicine. The focus is on emergent medical care, whether it be at the time 9-1-1 is called, in the Emergency Department, or while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Our goal is to bring students from various backgrounds – from engineering, computer science and business to medicine, nursing and pharmacy. We believe this multi-disciplinary approach will lead to real, impactful solutions and branch into future partnerships.

What is a medical hackathon?

Traditional hackathons are “invention marathons” where passionate programmers come together in an overnight event to create a new product from scratch in a short period of time. A medical hackathon takes these ideas traditionally applied to the programming world and expands them to the medical world.


9:00 AM Registration
10:00 AM Problem pitching
11:00 AM Team formation and lunch
12:00 PM Hacking Begins!
6:00 PM Dinner
12:00 AM Midnight Snacks
7:00 AM Breakfast
12:00 PM Hacking Ends and Lunch
1:00 PM Solution Presentations
3:00 PM Closing ceremony

Dispersed throughout the event will be various workshops including hacking and coding 101, ER flow, and basic 3d printing.


Product Design

This track is for the designer in you. Have you picked up a spork and thought, "dang this is super smart!" Well, now is your chance to build the spork. Thousands of medical devices are used in Emergency Medicine every day, this track is to make these devices better and more efficient.
Example: Adenosine is a life saving drug that has a half life of less than 10 seconds. Because of its short half life, it needs to followed immediately with a saline flush, and is often given inappropriately. Develop a device that improves and streamlines the administration of adenosine to remove human error.

Patient Experience and Quality Improvement

This is the track for students interesting in making the otherwise traumatic experience of acute illness a little better. This could include improving the registration process via automation, to adjusting flow within the ER to improve efficiency, to finding ways to improve patient satisfaction during otherwise long ER waits. The options are endless, this is a category you can really get creative!
Example: Often wait times in the Emergency Department are long and this time is wasted on just waiting. How can we use the time that patients are in the waiting room to improve efficiency and patient satisfaction?

Social determinants of health

This is a track that is special to us organizers, and something that really sets us apart from many other hackathons. Boston Medical Center, BU's affiliated hospital, has a strong mission of taking care of all patients, regardless of socioeconomic status. This track is where students will solve challenges in access to medical care by breaking barriers created by differences in socioeconomic status.
Example: Patients without access to transportation will often miss appointments or use 911 ambulance to get access to important medical care, such as dialysis. How can break the transportation barrier and improve patient access to outpatient appointments?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hackathon?

A traditional hackathon is a hacking marathon. The purpose is to bring students together interested in making change and solving problems!

When is hack/ED?

October 19-20. Events start at 9am with registration and problem pitching until the end of presentations at 3pm Sunday

Who can attend hack/ED?

Any student – undergraduate or from any graduate program – can attend. We are hoping for a diverse set of students, major does not matter!

I’ve never been to a hackathon, do I have to have experience to participate?

You absolutely don’t need to have prior hacking experience to participate. In fact, because we’re focusing on bringing such a diverse group of students to hack/ED, we expect many will be first-timers!

What if I can’t code?

No need! We want a diverse set of skills, and part of that means that everyone may not know how to code. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring a lot to the table.

Do I need a team before coming?

No! hack/ED starts with a problem pitching session, after which you can form teams based on which problems you’re excited about solving!

What should I bring?

Bring your student ID, laptop and chargers, sleeping bag if you’re planning to sleep there

Where can I sleep?

Bring a sleeping bag! We’ll try to keep some rooms quiet if you’re planning to stay the night.

Will you have hardware available for us?

We will have some hardware such as materials for 3D printing, however you should reach out if you’d like any specific hardware for the event and we’ll do our best to have it for you.

Are you offering travel assistance?

Unfortunately not this year, in the future we will consider it!

What about parking?

Unfortunately, no parking is available being that we’re in Boston. The build lab is right next to the BU Central station on the green line and uber/lyft is super cheap as well.

Get in touch