So what's this Health Hack business?
Simply put, it's an opportunity for enthusiastic and motivated Healthcare and Technology Professionals to work together, in an informal and non-commercial environment, to improve local Healthcare (and further afield).
Intriguing. Tell me more.
We want Healthcare Professionals to come with problems, challenges and good ideas that may benefit from the creative application of technology. Technology Professionals will bring their skills, knowledge of current and emerging technologies, and a desire to apply these skills and knowledge to help solve some thorny Healthcare problems. The Technology Professionals will choose a particular problem or idea they would like to work on and will collaborate with the Healthcare Professionals over an inspiring weekend. The result should be a technology prototype - that may form the basis of later development - along with Technology Professionals with a greater appreciation of the challenges of delivering Healthcare today and Healthcare Professionals who have a greater knowledge of how technology may be applied to their activities. The event has the potential to be richly rewarding for all concerned.
And, this is important. Many of the people who understand the problems in healthcare lack the knowledge and network necessary to design and build technology solutions. Similarly, very few designers and developers have the medical knowledge and experience necessary to innovate in the healthcare space. This is costly: problems remain unsolved, and current solutions remain inefficient. Our goal is to inform healthcare professionals about the potential of technology and empower technology innovators with the knowledge and network required to improve healthcare.
Sounds great but what's this Hacking business? That sounds a bit dangerous.
It's not dangerous - or, at least, the only things in danger are preconceived notions. The event is based on the concept of a "Hackathon", which is well established as a highly productive way of quickly taking ideas to working prototype. By emphasizing hands-on work on small projects that can be tackled in a short period of time, assumptions can be quickly tested, teams can be built, and momentum can be generated for promising ideas in healthcare. See this article, for example.
So, who's organising this Health Hack?
The leaders of the HealthHack initiative are Tom Gray (who is CTO of technology company Kainos during the day) and Stephen McComb (who runs the NI Connected Health Innovation Centre during the day). They believe that events like this can be beneficial to all participants and, especially, can make a positive difference to the provision of healthcare.
The Dublin event is being sponsored by the Irish Computer Society and a number of Healthcare and Technology organisations.
Great idea. Well done.
Thank you but we are building on work done by some very innovative and motivated people. In particular, we are indebted to the work done by Dr. Carl Reynolds in setting up NHS Hack Days in London and Liverpool. He, and his team, are a continual inspiration. If you have the opportunity to attend one of his Hack Day events, we strongly suggest that you do so.
How do I get involved?
If you'd like to get involved during the weekend and are a Healthcare Professional with problems or ideas, or a Technology Professional (developer, designer, UX), then sign up for a place. We'll get back to you as soon as we can. We'd love to accommodate everyone but, we've got space limitations. We'll be prioritising Healthcare Professionals with challenges and ideas and, where possible, we'll align developer skills and interests with these. If you'd like to help us organise this and subsequent events, drop Tom an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm a Healthcare Professional and I have an idea for you. what should I do?
Firstly, plan to come along to the Hack in June. We'd love to meet you and match you with some developers/designers. You'll be able to guide and shape the implementation of your idea and I know that the Technology Professionals will learn a lot from you.
Are there any preferred technologies or restrictions on the technologies I can use?
No. The choice is yours. However, we would prefer that any development is based on Open Source technologies and that code is shared with your peers on github. Our emphasis on openness is in recognition of the fact that it is increasingly standard in the technology industry and some parts of government (UK Cabinet Office). Equally importantly, openness in technology fits with the collaboration and transparency found in medical and academic culture.
What do I need to bring on the day?
Aside from your laptop (mandatory for developers, optional for clinicians), just bring your skills and ideas. Everything else will be provided. Food and refreshing beverages will be provided by our supporters. If anyone wants to bring some of those rice crispie buns, feel free - we're quite partial to those.
Are there judges? Are there prizes?
Yes. We have invited representatives of the medical, tech and entrepeneur communities to review your ideas and software. Towards the end of Sunday, there will be an opportunity to present your work to the judging panel (and to each other). The judges will provide advice, guidance and opinions based on their area of expertise. There may even be prizes. But that's not really the point. In an event like this, everybody is a winner. And, I do mean "everybody". Think about it. What you begin at the Health Hack could help better inform an individual about their condition, help them more effectively manage their condition, or help a clinician reduce a paperwork burden and allow her to spend more time with patients. And, these types of impact ripple out and touch everyone in a community - the patient, the care giver, the family, the friend, the individual who would have been a patient without your innovation, and so on.
How do I register my team for the presentation?
We will provide a form for you to fill in on the day.
It's not often you can do that in a weekend. See you there.