Innovate as fast as you can: Announcing Health 2.0 SF Code-A-Thon!

By: Alicia Davis


When I first joined my high school track team, the longest I’ve probably ran was in a footrace from my house to the house three doors down. I really wasn’t sure what I was capable of and wondered if I could ever sprint 400m. My coach saw the mental block forming in my head and had me work up to the big race in spurts – 50m, 100 m, 200m- before I could take on the full track. Each time I increased my distance, I didn’t know what to expect until it was over. I only ran the 400m race once before I knew shorter distances were more for me, but I never would have gotten there without the jumpstart.

In my eyes, code-a-thons are the first ‘spurt’ in working your way up to the big finish. Before you arrive, you have a fuzzy idea of what you might want to accomplish, but are unsure of how exactly you’re going to get there. Once you’re at the event, the countdown to the end begins and your mind goes straight to work to put something great together. While two days seems too short to build the next big thing, it’s just enough time to start the process of creating something impactful. Code-a-thons put your skills and ideas to the test and show what you’re made of in just a few hours. For some, that gives them the boost they need to try to go even further, pushing themselves to go the distance!

Health 2.0 hosted the very first health code-a-thon and today our code-a-thons are still often the birthplace of a lot of great ideas in health care.  Our winners have gone on to become entrepreneurs or build partnerships with organizations that are leaders in health care. One such example is Health 2.0 Code-a-Thon: Preventing Obesity winner MAYA Design, who created a universally accessible text-messaging system that expanded access to healthy food and information. Since then, the team has improved their original product and has gone on to pilot the technology in multiple cities.

Our code-a-thons have attracted more than 2500 developers, engineers, designers, and health care professionals and we’ve awarded over $100,000 in cash prizes in previous years. Past code-a-thons have spurred new features for existing products, created brand new solutions for big problems in health care and always continues the conversation on how technology can improve health care as we know it. Not to mention, it’s a great place to meet new friends in the tech space and really get your feet wet in the latest and greatest in health care.

Our next code-a-thon is happening in San Francisco on September 20-21st, right before Health 2.0’s Fall Conference. Sponsored by Allscripts EHR, this event will allow participants to connect with Allscripts’ open API, create new applications for their EHR, and explore partnership possibilities with Allscripts that can lead to a revenue-generating business. This could be the first jumpstart you need to begin working your way up to your own big goal!


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