Announcing the Second Annual

Independence / Jefferson
Health Hack

Reinventing Healthcare Access and Delivery
November 4-6, 2016

Hamilton Building
Thomas Jefferson University
1001 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
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Join us and Hack Fearless!

Pre-Registration now open

Mentor and Volunteer Information

Want to shape the future of healthcare?

Come to the Independence/Jefferson Health Hack!

Join a team of healthcare professionals, engineers, developers, designers, entrepreneurs and students to dream up new ways to promote access and delivery to healthcare! Bring your fresh ideas and enthusiasm - no hacking experience required!

Find a problem that you are passionate about within our three tracks: Patient Engagement; Connected Health; Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

Opening Night Celebration!

Rock the opening of the Hack, Friday evening, with our own President and CEO, Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, aka “Little Stevie Kent” ( his real DJ moniker), who will spin some tunes to galvanize the room, and get us off to a high energy start for an action packed weekend!

Dr Klasko

Opening Event Sponsored and Supported by

IBM Pro Vision Productions Inc

What is a Health Hack?

A healthcare hackathon is an event that thrives on collisions between different worlds, experiences, and cultures. It is centered around bringing individuals together who may not interact otherwise - say, an experience designer, a programmer, and a triage nurse - to dream up scalable solutions to the most pressing issues in healthcare. It is in this friction between seemingly-disparate fields that have produced startup companies worth millions.

Have an idea? That’s great! Don’t have an idea? That’s great too! What is most important is that you bring your experience, passion, and expertise to bear in your own distinctive way. This is a space where it is safe (and encouraged) to test ideas with creative abandon. Be open. Be inspired. Fail fast and pivot to something new.

Who should participate in the Health Hack?

The simple answer: anyone who is interested in confronting major problems in healthcare.

Let's face it - attending a "hackathon" can be intimidating for people without extremely technical backgrounds. The name itself conjures up images of groups of sleep-deprived coders working for days on end in dark rooms trying to produce something deliverable like an application or social network.

Is our event that type of hackathon? It depends. The Health Hack is designed to be as high- or low-tech as you want it to be. You could just as easily receive one of our prize packages by prototyping a revolutionary surgical instrument or drone attachment with cardboard and tape as you could by delivering a fully-functional app available on the App Store.

One of the challenges to innovating in healthcare is that the problems are so complex that it is daunting to even consider where to begin. We believe that solutions to problems in healthcare can germinate from bringing together people with wildly different experiences, whether you are an ace coder or a patient with Type II diabetes. Come to this event knowing that YOU can contribute something meaningful.

Okay, I'm interested. But what makes the Independence/Jefferson Health Hack unique among all the hackathons out there?

Our event is designed to help you to nurture and develop your ideas into something big. When the largest healthcare system in Philadelphia teams up with one of the largest regional insurance providers, you have the opportunity to connect with people who have the expertise to help you make your idea a reality and navigate the complexities of the US healthcare system.

We want to give you the tools that you will need to do well in the competition and beyond. There will be rotating workshops throughout the weekend to teach skills that help in a hackathon, from mocking up a wireframe for an app to giving a killer pitch. Our prize packages will be structured to give you the keys to the strategies, insights, and individuals who will help to steer your idea well beyond the weekend.

So what do I get if I win and what do I give up? If you win one of the tracks, you get the prizes offered by the track sponsor. You give up going forward with your idea alone.

Innovation requires energy. Be on the lookout for healthy food and pop-up opportunities including yoga, zumba and kickboxing. Also, a few surprises!

Want to participate?

Pre-register by October 23, 2016 to guarantee a spot!

While we will continue to accept later registrations as space permits, we hope you will register sooner, to make it easier for us to plan for all aspects of the Hack

Participant Application

Another aspect of the Health Hack is that it can also be MAKE-A-THON if you so choose!

We have partnered with NextFab, a maker-space and prototyping studio in South Philadelphia that specializes in Design, Engineering, Consulting, and Fabrication. NextFab will be giving presentations on the fabrication process at the Health Hack and providing access to the 3D printers, laser cutters, expert woodworking, and other prototyping services at their facility. Transportation will be provided between the Jefferson and NextFab during the Health Hack.


PRE-HACK OPPORTUNITIES WITH NEXTFAB - If you are interested in working with NextFab, we encourage you to learn more about the space prior to the event. Groups of less than four people can also go on a 30-40 minute tour of the facility daily from 2:00-5:30PM without having to reserve in advance. For more information about touring the facility, check here.

If you go for a tour, make sure you mention that you will be coming to the Hackathon! If you have an idea in mind, bring it up as they may be able to point you in the right direction so you know where to start on Hack weekend.

New for this year: We have partnered with leading desktop 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker to bring a suite of on-site 3D printing capabilities to the event! The Ultimaker team will help you get your ideas out of your mind and into the world manifest as a physical object. Never used a 3D printer? No problem! Learn from the experts or attend our intro to 3D printing workshop!

Tracks at the Health Hack

Patient Engagement

Sponsored by

Let’s create solutions that enable patients to be active participants and decision makers in their own health. Patients know their bodies and diseases better than anyone else but they rarely have an active role in the design of treatments, devices, and services. How might we engage patients to be co-designers and collaborators? Potential solutions might look like apps that help patients connect with their care teams, easy to use tools for tracking health, or adaptive devices to help persons with disabilities.

Who Should Participate?

This track is for everyone - no experience is needed. If you are a patient, clinician, entrepreneur, teacher, student, etc. who wants to hack solutions to empower patients, then join this track!

Connected Health

Sponsored by


Connected health is a model for healthcare delivery that uses technology to provide and augment healthcare remotely. Connected health aims to maximize healthcare resources and provide increased, flexible opportunities for consumers to engage with clinicians and better self-manage their care. It uses technology – often leveraging readily available consumer technologies – to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor's office. Connected health encompasses programs in telehealth, remote care (such as home care) and disease and lifestyle management, often leverages existing technologies such as connected devices, wearables, mobile applications, and systems integration.

Who Should Participate?

The Connected Health track is open to anyone who is enthusiastic about applying technology to help improve health outcomes. Participants may include software engineers and programmers, designers, entrepreneurs, basic scientists, and especially patients - whose feedback and insight about their experience is invaluable to the design process of a device. Do not be deterred if you do not have a ton of technical experience! The key to this track, as in all other, is fostering collaboration between individuals with very different professional and experiential skill sets.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

Sponsored by

PhotonBioMedical IBM

Virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) systems are an exciting immersive technology with a great deal of untapped potential in the healthcare arena. Some pioneers have utilized it to augment medical education, assist with pain management and rehabilitation, and as a tool for mindfulness and meditation exercises. From the low cost and very accessible Google Cardboard to the Microsoft HoloLens, these technologies have the potential to change the way we interact with technology and the environment around us. Other immersive technologies to think about include mixed reality, human-computer interface, haptics, and any other technology that bridges the physical world with the digital world.

Who Should Participate?

The VR/AR track is opened to anyone and everyone. We encourage participants who are eager to learn more about and innovate in this burgeoning field. You do not need to have any experience with these devices prior to the weekend. As with our other tracks we encourage participants from all backgrounds such as healthcare workers, public safety professionals, patients, engineers, business professionals, designers, students, and everyone in between.

To get a jump start on innovating with this technology for this track, check out the resource links available from our friends at Virtual Reality Hackathon

Track Prizes

Teams must have a minimum of two participants to be considered for a prize.

Independence Blue Cross Patient Engagement track:

Connected Health track:

Virtual/Augmented Reality track:

Each track judging group will choose a winner. The judges reserve the right to choose as many as 3 winners per track. Cash prize for the top winner will be $5000. Second and third place finalists cash prize will be $1000.

(Check back as we may be adding more exciting opportunities to our prize packs!)


  • Registration/Check-in. Opening reception; beer and wine happy hour; snacks, dinner on the run.
  • Hack Opening: short program, music and lightshow, with Dr. Stephen “Little Stevie Kent” Klasko.
  • Networking session for participants to meet, discuss ideas, and begin problem pitches.

  • Breakfast.
  • Opening remarks, Dr. Rose Ritts; orientation; solution pitches, and team formation.
  • Hacking begins and will go until Sunday. Optional workshops and prototype fabrication opportunities on Saturday only, at NextFab. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

  • Breakfast starts
  • Opening remarks, Dr. Mark Tykocinski; orientation; teams continue working and practice pitches. Breakfast and lunch provided.
  • Presentations due.
  • Teams give solution pitches.
  • Awards presented by Dr. Stephen Spinelli, and Hack wrap-up.

Pre-forming teams

You do not need to form a team before the hackathon!

We encourage you to form a new and organic team around a problem that is pitched at the event. That puts everyone on an even playing field and allows for some awesome diverse teams to come together! It is OK if you pre-form a team, but we ask that you are open to allowing others to join your team during the event and that you let us know you are coming with a pre-formed team on the application.

To keep with the open and collaborative spirit of the event, we will be advertising pre-formed teams here..


Mentors are essential to the success of a hackathon. A Mentor can be anyone who is well-versed in some aspect of healthcare (clinical or administrative), entrepreneurship, design, engineering, and computer development and is excited about helping other innovators in their process.

As a mentor, you will have a variety of roles throughout the weekend - including providing feedback to teams as they work, working a shift at our ‘Genius Bar,’ listening to practice pitches, and judging final presentations. On top of all of that, you will have a front row seat to all of the innovative ideas that come out of the event!

Committing to become a mentor does NOT mean that you will have to be present for the entirety of the weekend.
We anticipate that mentors will be most needed on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, November 5th while the teams are hacking.

Interested in mentoring at the Health Hack?

Mentor Application

Contact us at if you have any questions!

Want to volunteer for the event? Sign up here!

Volunteer Sign-Up



Frequently Asked Questions

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