Can we hack health? Researchers and hackers come together to find out at #HealthHack

Watching GovHack grow to over 800 developers this past year was amazing (and it will be even more amazing this year!), however watching an event when it is just the sparkle in the eye of a small community is even more exciting.  Exciting because of the potential it has, the potential to change things in a way that only inspired people packed into a room can achieve.

I’ve no doubt that #HealthHack will go national next year, this kind of opportunity to bring scientists together with developers is just a brilliant insight.

The organizers, Maia, Fiona, Craig and Steve are spot on that their generation wants to be involved with science: not afraid of genetics, not afraid of large data, not afraid of health informatics, not afraid of asking, not afraid of offering solutions; they are a generation who views health as a problem that they are perfectly capable of solving.  There is no ivory tower keeping people out here, just open gardens of ideas and willingness!

“Everyone in the e-research sector knows that the only real way to produce useful software for researchers is to get developers and researchers working literally side by side” said Steve Bennett, research technologist at V3 Alliance. “But it’s easier said than done. Hack events like these are magic, both making the researcher part of the development team and developers part of the research team.”

With nothing more than the tools on their laptop (well and perhaps a little computing oomph from the cloud), this group sees no reason why the cure to cancer might spark in this very room (perhaps much like the secrets of our modern universe were discovered by a patent clerk doing physics in his spare time).

In short, keep an eye on #healthhack.  If you are a developer, you’ll be amazed what you can learn from a scientist, if you are a scientist you will be amazed what you will learn from a developer.  Two skill sets perfectly matched, (mark my words) this event is going to be big in the coming years!

A special shout out needs to go to Maia and Georgia  – fantastic effort and brilliant evangelists for how ‘open’ things should be done (dumplings were delicious and no hack should be without a beer fridge!).

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