Our vision for TreeHacks Health

Our vision for TreeHacks Health

Before anything else, our quality of life depends on our personal health and well-being. We’ve built cars that can drive themselves, have over 10 billion devices are connected to the internet, and are on track to put a smartphone in the hands of 70% of the world’s population by 2020. But significant innovation in health and the healthcare industry has been one of the slowest-moving sectors of our time.

At TreeHacks, we hold ourselves accountable to give hackers the opportunity to tackle the world’s most meaningful and interesting problems. We don’t pretend to fully understand why and where things are broken in healthcare, but we care deeply about empowering hackers to tackle healthcare’s biggest and most important problems. This is why we’ve created TreeHacks Health, a vertical of TreeHacks dedicated to connecting hackers with problems in health care.

The question of how to inspire and empower innovation in healthcare — how to start and what to tackle — is an important one for us at TreeHacks. We don’t mean to encourage the “move fast, break things” mentality at the cost of one’s personal health. Nor do we expect hackers to implement a fully integrable solution that “plugs and plays” right into the current healthcare system. Our goal is to balance medicine’s deliberate nature with a hackathon’s energy and can-do spirit. For us, this means delivering actionable needs directly from physicians and patients, while leveraging a hackathon’s speed and efficiency to prototype potential cures.

Why TreeHacks Health?

Healthcare needs hackers

The disconnect between those who understand technology and those who understand healthcare has persisted for decades. If hackers want to make changes in healthcare, we’re going to need to meet in the middle. For hackers, that means stepping out of our comfort zone to empathize with patient and physician needs that can benefit from our technical and creative energies.

Healthcare is personal

People often believe that improving healthcare requires large systemic change; however, innovations that improve personal health are arguably just as, if not more, important. The reality is that the two extremes of approaching innovation in healthcare may be more closely coupled than we might believe. To us as hackers this means that we should feel free to approach healthcare from whatever angle we feel most comfortable: whether it be a mobile health app that directly impacts patients or a big data problem that applies across healthcare as a whole; any win for either side is a win for both.

Healthcare is changing

There are interesting developments in the political and venture capital spheres of healthcare that signal a significant increase of future innovation in healthcare. If past hackathon winners are any testament to the growing interest in health from our peers, there’s no better time to start looking into healthcare than now.

Although tackling an area as big and complex as healthcare is a daunting task, we have the unique ability as student hackers to create extraordinary examples of what the future of healthcare can look like. Committing ourselves to tackle big and meaningful problems like health care is critical if we want to inspire the next generation of innovation in the areas that need it most.