Hackathons across 3 continents – to disrupt and innovate for respiratory sufferers

Mahmut Tuncer

Over 240 million people worldwide suffer from the devastating effects of COPD and millions more are affected by additional forms of respiratory difficulties. The challenges for patients can be daunting: panic associated with not being able to breathe; difficulty just getting out of bed; lack of energy; limitations of devices; social stigma. And limited treatment options and single-purpose devices too-often focus on just one piece of wellness treatment, without fully understanding or embracing the full set of needs of those suffering. Lack of media attention just exacerbates the problems.
During two days in early June in San Francisco, at a ‘Crowdshaped’ event hosted by the COPD Foundation and Novartis Pharma with 50+ thinkers from across the globe, it became clear that, despite the number of technology solutions for respiratory patients on the market, most of them are closed and don’t work together – ignoring the systemic nature of respiratory diseases. Integrating different solutions under a common platform could make them smarter and help personalize treatment for patients, while creating new partnerships and business opportunities for the manufacturers. In order to explore what could be done, to spark novel ideas, spread the COPD message and empower innovators to be successful to improve the lives of respiratory sufferers; on Saturday 19th-20th we ran first-of-kind global event which took place simultaneously across three continents: at Imperial College London, UK; MIT Media Lab in Boston, USA and at Technion in Haifa, Israel….

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