The Criminal Hackathon

Attended the Stanford HealthAI 2019 hackathon last weekend. This was an a very stimulating event and I learned a lot.

(An aside, I got a new phone after ditching my pixel II. But I think my typo problem is mainly with google’s keyboard and not their phone. This iPhone Xs is visibly slower at everything than my one year old pixel II, loading web, download speed, any task, it feels a decade older for some reason. But! I can type on the Mac keyboard as fast as I can move my fingers and it comes out right. It came to me as a shock because I also had Gboard installed and the last paragraph was very painfully typed on that.)

Anyways, back to hackathon, which was a blast! Generally speaking, if investors were to analyze innovation and entrepreneurship, the criminal investigation techniques is a concise way to describe it. There are three elements:

1) motive

2) means

3) opportunity

The hackathon is 3. Myself and the other attendees presumably are the means. Commitment requires the additional ingredients of motive and the act itself.

The business of health seems to be a vast sprawling monstrosity that span sciences, technologies, species, markets, and politics. What drives it? Who’s in control? Who has reliable information? It depends who’s asking and why.

The motive is tricky. There seem to be the following types of entities:

  • Providers (docs, hospitals, clinics)
  • Insurance (ppo, hmo, Medicare, Medicaid, …)
  • Providers’ providers (Pharmacological makes, Medical equipment maker)
  • Regulatory agencies, state and federal.
  • People <– customers of the health industry, pay for health related service.
  • Scientists and their surrounding industry (university, grant giving orgs, peer reviewed publications…)

Hope I didn’t miss any one.

I am a consumer, part of People. But I got to sit with two MD’s and work through the business cases among a lot of scientists and entrepreneurs. The keynote speakers gave very touching perspectives from their own practices.

One doc reminisced regrets of curing hair loss patient to grow half a head of hair, it made life worse for her (!) another doc exasperated that all his smarts and youth are wasted, in his capacity as a doctor at hospital, on keeping patient alive and paying. These are very wise and deep lessons that I take from hackathon with glee.

I definitely learned a ton in a small space of time.

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