Global surgery hackathons: A case study from Pakistan

Document Type



General Surgery; Emergency Medicine


Background: Hackathons aim to solve problems in a selected field by bringing together people from multiple domains and combining their expertise. Global surgery is an emerging field with a huge burden of disease and massive implications for bettering health care. In this study, we describe the first Global Surgery Hackathon held in Pakistan and analyze the impacts of the hack and post-hack incubation.
Methods: This research study used data collected from a Hackathon held at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi, Pakistan, and progress from the post-hack incubation teams. Data were collected from applications, from sign-in attendance, via evaluation forms, and milestone tracking of the incubation teams. A list of factors such as sectors addressed by winning projects and grants received was made.
Results: The evaluations provided by the participants were positive, with mean scores of 4.00 (SD = .78) out of 5 on a Likert scale. Pitches made (n = 69, 68%) by the 109 participants were sorted into 5 categories: workplace, access, quality, safety, and design. Fifteen teams were formed, out of which 5 were accepted for incubation. All teams had a minimum viable product at the one-year mark.
Conclusion: Hackathons are a reliable way to come up with effective solutions for targeted problems in various areas of health care and using the methodology of a Hackathon, a pool of low-cost, innovative solutions can be generated. These solutions can definitely impact health outcomes, especially for the field of global surgery. Further statistics should be collected to affirm the incubated solutions’ impact.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Surgical Innovation