#Asia They just started college, but HealthHacks PH is looking to hack Philippines’ healthtech scene

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Called HealthHacks PH, the non-profit organisation hosts the country’s first hackathon for the healthcare sector

Founder Kyle Tan (second from left) with the HealthHacks PH team

Founder Kyle Tan (second from left) with the HealthHacks PH team

When his father was diagnosed with pneumonia which later developed into stage-four cancer, Kyle Tan became inspired to solve the problem he dubbed as ‘hacking’ cancer.

The college student is also passionate about the Philippines’ local startup scene, but despite consistent hackathon events, there were essentially none dedicated to solving the country’s most pressing healthcare issues.

So he decided to build HealthHacks PH, a non-profit organisation run by a team of seven college freshmen from University of Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University. The aim is to grow the local healthtech startup scene.

“The most pressing problems [in the Philippine healthcare sector] would be making data more digital, since most hospitals here still use papers for their patient information. Another would be improving healthcare technology, in the sense that, we shouldn’t go to other countries to cure our diseases,” Tan says.

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The organisation’s key activity is an event called the HealthHacks PH 2016, a 24-hour hackathon where participants aim to solve some of the most pressing problems faced by the country’s healthcare sector.

Held in January at Microsoft Philippines’ office, Tan says the event was inspired by the Hacking Medicine programme held annually at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

12 teams of high school and college students from Metro Manila took part in a series of talks and mentoring while attempting to build solutions from scratch.

The event managed to secure a panel of speaker-mentors, and judges that consisted of leading healthcare and tech experts such as Dr. Raymonde Uy, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medical Informatics at the National Library of Medicine; Farouk Meralli, CEO of mClinica; Jay Fajardo of Medifi; Marc Medina of MEDIX; Martin Gomez of IBM; Rodrick Tan of By Implication; Dr. Ruby Cristobal from the Department of Science and Technology, Science Education Institute; and Kit Sumabat from the Philippine Nursing Informatics Association.

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Team Bitscript, a team of three freshmen in high school, won the competition. They aimed to build a cloud-based data management and collaboration platform that includes an electronic medical record system, a user ID system with personalised image detection, and real-time QR and barcode processing.

Meanwhile, the runner-up positions were won by Team #SQUAD, who created an app and a portable hardware solution to help Type 1 Diabetes patients with an automated glucose monitor and insulin pump, and Team STDuty, who created a game that seeks to educate teenagers about sexually transmitted diseases through interactive storylines.

“I think the potential is really big since the champion of our event is a [group of] freshman high school students … It is great because they outperformed their competitors which are college students. There is much that can be done [by them] in the healthcare sector,” says Tan.

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Hosting the hackathon event will remain HealthHacks priority for the upcoming future — with expansion in mind.

“Next year we are planning to expand [the event]. Not only in Manila, but possibly other provinces as well. Maybe Cebu or other places, so we can spread the theme of healthcare to everyone,” he closes.

Image Credit: HealthHacks PH

The post They just started college, but HealthHacks PH is looking to hack Philippines’ healthtech scene appeared first on e27.

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