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Calling all Health2.0 enthusiasts for RHoK, June 4th & 5th

May 10, 2011

Guest blogger Christine Crowley invites members of #hcsmca to take part in Random Hacks of Kindness.

By Christine Crowley (@pharmaengage)

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is a joint initiative between Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, NASA, and the World Bank, with the objective of creating solutions that have an impact in disaster management and crisis response. This objective is met through holding semi-annual global hackathons (marathon coding events) taking place simultaneously in 21 cities over a week-end. The event brings together subject matter experts in software development, open data, project management, graphic design, videography, emergency management, technology, research, knowledge translation, logistics, just to name a few. Over the week-end, teams are formed to create software & technology solutions for problem definitions pre-selected and provided by RHoK. This is a competition with prizes to be won too. Take a look at some winning hacks.

RHoK in Canada

The first RHoK event in Canada was held last December in Toronto. (See pictures). The next RHoK event (RHoK 3.0) is scheduled for June 4th & 5th, 2011 and it will be the first with an expanded focus on both disaster risk and climate change. RHoK has issued a call to action to send challenges their way.

So what does this have the do with #hcsmca?

RHoK encourages each hackathon location to reach out to local subject matter experts in related fields, such as communications and public health. That’s you!

If your organization or community has challenges that could benefit from Health 2.0 solutions, we would love to hear from you and encourage you to submit your project.

Still not convinced? Look at case study “Height-Catcher”

A medically-relevant solution that won first place in Birmingham at RHoK 2.0 is a tool called Height-Catcher: a camera-based tool for Android phones that measures the height of children (as a surrogate for malnutrition) and used in humanitarian relief camps where lugging cumbersome height measuring tools is impractical. Please see blogpost for a review of the completed tool.

This example made me recall a tool that was proposed by @haltonparents during the April 20th #hcsmca Tweetchat:

As described in a powerful testimonial on the @haltonparents’ blog, the importance of identifying development delays in a child as early as possible is a good reason why the Nipissing District Developmental Screen (NDDS) should be made into an application that not only helps parents screen for developmental delays quickly and easily but also helps communicate the results with a paediatrician in a timely manner, e.g., in the form of a emailed report, or better yet, as a colleague suggested, why not integrate the data into an open data medical record system? The resulting application could be made accessible worldwide.

Additional information

The RHoK curation team is looking for projects that are fun, useful, educational, and that can be accomplished in a weekend. Your submissions will be reviewed and sent to the global RHoK group for further refinement and approval. Please keep in mind that not all proposals will be accepted by RHoK, which does not mean it is not a good idea. It simply might be out of scope. Also, not all accepted ideas are worked on because volunteers select the problems that interest them the most.

Next steps 

Have an idea ready to submit? If so, send an email message to by May 20th. Be sure to include the following points:

  • your name
  • your organization
  • contact info
  • project name,
  • project summary
  • detailed project description including a user case, user story, or a scenario, plus any constraints or conditions that should be considered in the development of the application.

The problem definition template can be used as a guide in drafting your problem statement.

Would you like to discuss an idea further before submission? Connect with me via Twitter (@pharmaengage) or share your feedback & questions in the comments below.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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