Independence / Jefferson
Health Hack

Reinventing Healthcare Access and Delivery
November 13-15, 2015

Thank you to all the participants and volunteers,
and congratulations to the winners!

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: Reducing Readmissions; Wearables; Drone-based Healthcare Delivery.

2015 Winners Announced

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.

Want to participate?

2015 Winners Announced

Track Prizes

Independence sponsored track:

Comcast/Microsoft sponsored track:

Dronecast/IBM sponsored 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 winners cash prize will be $1000.

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 services at their facility. Shuttle services will be provided to and from NextFab.

Happy hour snacks will be provided.

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. Alex Kaplan from NextFab can answer your questions via email at 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.

Pre-forming teams

Just as we encourage participants to spend some time at NextFab before the Hack to become better acquainted with options for prototyping and fabrication, we encourage those of you who are interested to pre-form a team if you have an idea that is just pulsating for attention. Currently, the following teams are pre-forming:

On the Drone track: The White Helmets, an Istanbul-based non-profit, is supporting the pre-forming of a team to develop new approaches to rescuing victims trapped in rubble from disasters. If you are interesting in joining this pre-formed team, please contact Tony Sacksteder (, Brad Flaugher (, Mike Lehman (

On the Wearables track: Two local fabricators are interested in creating a collapsible bike helmet. If you are interested in joining this pre-forming team, please contact David Raufer at or Salvatore Di Paolo at

Other teams are pre-forming on all tracks. Stay tuned for updates!

I'm really interested in applying technology to problems in the healthcare sector. Will there be tools to help me get started?

Yep! This is a chance to use the tools that are shaping the future of healthcare to make your solution a part of that future.

We are excited to be partnering with Microsoft to bring the Microsoft Band to the Wearables track! Microsoft Band is packed with features such as fitness tracking, GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, a barometer and sensors for skin temperature, UV, galvanic skin response. These devices will be available for participants to use in their solutions. Representatives will also be available to help teams get the most out of the device and accompanying software.

We are also teaming up with IBM, who will be demonstrating their Watson cognitive computing service as well as providing access to their IBM Bluemix platform as a service offering (with Watson APIs). Yes, we are talking about that Watson computer, which reads and learns just like a human. Powered by Watson and Bluemix, you can use Big Data and analytics to scale your idea to whatever problem you are hoping to solve. IBM will also be providing on-site support throughout the weekend to answer questions and provide “how to” guidance.

For more information please see:

Questions? Please contact Alex Baran, IBM Cloud Software, at (610) 909 0008 or

Finally, we are joining with CloudMine, a company that empowers developers to build engaging healthcare applications at rapid speed. CloudMine's mBaaS will be made available to participants at the Health Hack for free and with full on-site support.


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.

Interested in mentoring at the Health Hack? Contact us at with your name, background, availability during the weekend, and any questions. We anticipate that mentors will be most needed on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, November 14th while the teams are hacking.

Tracks at the Health Hack

Improving Patient Experience:
Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Sponsored by

According to a 2013 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1 in 8 Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of a surgical procedure while 1 in 6 returned to the hospital after receiving medical care that required a hospital stay. With the Medicaid and Medicare funding now tied to readmissions metrics in the Affordable Care Act, healthcare systems are looking to innovate their processes and procedures to keep their patients healthier after treatment.

The goal of this track is to listen to pitches from patients and healthcare professionals who grapple with the problems of readmission, deconstruct these issues, and then build something new. Solutions that address readmission will help patients and their outcomes, healthcare professionals, and the US healthcare system as a whole, so get inspired!

Who Should Participate?

The Reducing Readmissions track is geared towards anyone who is interested in the longitudinal patient experience in healthcare systems. It welcomes healthcare professionals - physicians, nurses, technicians, administrators, and patients- who have experience with the problem of readmission, as well as engineers, entrepreneurs, process designers, developers, and individuals well-versed in healthcare law and regulation. Once you hear the pitches within this track, you may focus on whatever problem strikes you - whether it means redesigning the workflow for discharge within a health system or addressing a specific demographic - say, patients over 50 with congestive heart failure.


Sponsored by

Comcast Microsoft

From fitness trackers to Google Glass, wearables have become major parts of our daily lives. The healthcare sector is no exception. The Wearables track focuses on applying these diverse technologies to help patients and their providers gain a better understanding of their health. Want to develop an adhesive glucose monitor that wirelessly transmits readings to your doctor without a finger prick? This is the track for you. Specific prizes will be offered for those teams who use these devices most effectively and creatively in their solutions.

Who Should Participate?

The Wearables 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 others, is to foster collaboration between individuals with very different professional and experiential skill sets.

Pre-forming team

Two local fabricators are interested in creating a collapsible bike helmet. If you are interested in joining this pre-forming team, please contact David Raufer at or Salvatore Di Paolo at

Drone-Based Healthcare Delivery

Sponsored by

Dronecast IBM

It seems that everywhere you look today people are talking about applications for drone technology. In the near future, your Amazon order may arrive in 30 minutes or less on one of these nimble and versatile devices. The goal of this track is allow imaginative and ambitious people to reverse engineer and prototype drone-based solutions for the healthcare sector. Want to deliver equipment and supplies to previously inaccessible areas or redefine mail order prescription delivery in a large city? This is a chance for you to innovate.

DroneCast, a local drone company and track sponsor, will provide several of their 44 types of drones with which you can create. They will also provide on-site technical support for teams working with the drones during the weekend. The drones themselves are outfitted with a modular base that can be adapted for any application you can imagine. NextFab is on standby to help you materialize your ideas, 3D-printed or otherwise. As always, NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

Who Should Participate?

The Drone track is open to anyone and everyone. We encourage those who are eager to explore and innovate in this burgeoning field to participate. You do not need to have any experience with these devices prior to the weekend. We will have actual drones on site for participants to experience and use to prototype their ideas. 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.

Pre-forming team

The White Helmets, an Istanbul-based non-profit, is supporting the pre-forming of a team to develop new approaches to rescuing victims trapped in rubble from disasters. If you are interesting in joining this pre-formed team, please contact Tony Sacksteder (, Brad Flaugher (, Mike Lehman (


  • Registration/Check-in. Food will be provided.
  • Introduction to the weekend and keynote speakers.
  • Networking session for participants to meet, discuss ideas, and begin problem pitches. Beer and wine happy hour and dinner snacks.

  • Orientation, pitches and team formation.
  • Hacking begins and will go until Sunday. Optional workshops and prototype fabrication opportunities will be held on Saturday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided.
  • Check schedule below for pop-up fitness opportunities!

  • Short orientation. Teams continue working and practice pitches. Breakfast and lunch provided.
  • Presentations due.
  • Teams give solution pitches; judges deliberate and decide.
  • Awards and conclusion of weekend.

Pop–up Fitness Schedule

All classes will be held on Mezzanine West. Yoga mats provided. Showers will be available in the gym on the lower level. All you need are your workout clothes and a towel!