Registration Open for the 2019 Opioid Hackathon

October 16, 2019

The two-day event focused on tackling the opioid epidemic kicks off Nov. 12 at the Beckman Center, bringing together interdisciplinary teams vying for a $1,000 prize per track.

The Opioid Hackathon is a nearly 30-hour collaborative computer-programming event focused on tackling the opioid epidemic. From Tuesday, Nov. 12, until approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, interdisciplinary teams of students, researchers, health and law enforcement professionals, and patients and family members will gather at the Beckman Center (near the UCI campus) to develop innovative solutions using data and technology.

With more than 130 lives lost daily to opioid-related drug overdoses in the U.S., the need for novel approaches is clear. At the hackathon, registered teams will compete in one of a number of tracks, receiving appropriate datasets based on the selected track. They will then have 24 hours to use the data to develop their solution.

A panel of judges will select one winning team from each track. The first-place teams will each receive $1,000 and opportunities to further their work, collaborating with mentors and meeting with key stakeholders interested in implementing their solution in a public health setting. (Travel expenses related to the stakeholder meeting will be covered.)

“Normally, the hackathon is where it ends: people return to school or work the next day,” says Sean Young, executive director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology (ICIPT) and professor in UCI’s Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics. Young is working to extend the reach of hackathons through follow-up activities that keep participants engaged with each other and with researchers so they can further develop their solutions.

In 2018, Young collaborated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to organize ICIPT’s first Opioid Hackathon. Its success — producing more than 20 potential software and data-based prototypes in 24 hours — prompted him to organize this second Opioid Hackathon, again at UCI. One of last year’s first-place teams went on to win the 2018 FDA Innovation Challenge for Opioid Use and has since been granted a patent for its iPill product, a digital, biometrically controlled mobile app that dispenses pills only as prescribed. Clearly, this hackathon event has the potential to produce real-world solutions.

In fact, both the 2018 and 2019 events are part of a study on how hackathons can be used to scale implementations of opioid-related solutions in public health settings. All hackathon participants will become a part of the study, and selected participants will be invited to complete surveys and interviews related to their experiences at the event.

For more information about the Opioid Hackathon, including the agenda and frequently asked questions, see the website, which should also soon have detailed information about the tracks. Register now to participate and help change the future of opioid addiction.

Shani Murray