UM to Host Nation’s First Rural Medicine Hackathon

December 23, 2014

MISSOULA – The nation’s first rural medicine hackathon is scheduled for March 20-22, 2015, at the University of Montana in Missoula.

The Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership is collaborating with students at MIT Hacking Medicine to host Montana’s first live Rural Medicine Hackathon event in 2015. This event , sponsored by UM’s Blackstone LaunchPad, will focus on the unique challenges faced by rural and frontier communities.

A hackathon is a process, toolset and gathering that accelerates building teams to tackle the complexities of an industry’s toughest problems. Companies such as Facebook and Google and other successful entities have applied this method of innovation to solve their biggest challenges. This concept is now being applied to health care, and in Montana, will be applied to rural health care.

Over the past three years, MIT Hacking Medicine has held nearly two dozen events on four continents, in partnership with Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals and leading health care institutions around the world. These events create networks, foster vibrant communities and have resulted in innovative solutions to complex problems.

In many cases, projects have evolved into new venture opportunities for start-up companies. The Montana event follows the MIT Hacking Medicine general model.

Medicine hackathons bring clinicians and administrators together with a diverse group of entrepreneurs, engineers, students, medical residents, programmers and designers to collaborate openly. The process takes a broad range of ideas and concepts and results in new and innovative solutions that can be implemented.

The Hackathon will encompass chronic disease management, telemedicine, population health, reducing preventable hospital re-admissions, electronic medical records, workforce development, end-of-life quality of care, care transitions and access to care in rural communities.

Blackstone LaunchPad is a co-curricular, experiential campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, idea and venture-creation support. Since its establishment at the University of Montana in February 2014, more than 100 ventures have been advised.

For more information visit, call Monica Bourgeau of the FMBHP at 406-544-3098 or email


Contact: Jennifer Stephens, UM Blackstone LaunchPad manager, 406-493-4702,