Reflections on Jersey’s First Digital Health Hackathon

October 09, 2015 Matthew Robins Image Author: Matthew Robins

The team were excited about the digital health theme of the most recent Hackathon in Jersey. Our work stretches across a range of sectors, operating at many different levels of policymaking, but it’s especially exciting to see individuals at a grassroots level working together to develop innovative digital health solutions.

For the uninitiated, a Hackathon is a community event, held over 36 consecutive hours, which gathers as many members of the digital, technical and creative communities as possible, to build an app or solution. A Hackathon is egalitarian by nature, and HackJSY15 was no exception. The event saw a real cross-section of locals and visitors of all ages working together at the Digital Jersey Hub, from absolute beginners to seasoned coders.

Events like this provide a fresh perspective to our work. It’s inspiring to see the digital and creative community come together and apply their ideas and expertise to answer a practical need in our island community.

The full list of the entries is as follows:

It's a Gamble! Beancon (Beacon) - First prize winners, this team built an app which could be used to alert or provide further information to emergency services - including location data from a mobile phone which could then be plotted on a map to assist a response team in locating the caller.

Health Stage - Health Stage - The winner of second prize, Health Stage is a plug and play hardware environment combined with a bespoke build of Android, which facilitates the monitoring of a flexible range of sensors. The demo for the Hackathon focussed on environmental factors such as air quality, but medical/health sensors are also available and will be integrated in the next phase.

Cowboy Coders - MyGP - Comprised of three students from the Digital Jersey Coding Programme, this team took third prize with their product which is designed to improve communication between GPs and their patients, handling items such as test results and more.

Unfit Tweeters - Tweetfit - An app which motivates people to get fit, using Twitter to encourage and help them. This was a junior team, who won the "WTH" (What The Health?!) trophy for best 'out of the box' effort.

Paul Blampied - Exploring Open Data - Paul researched and presented on the availability of local, health related open data and the tools which are available to explore it.

docQ - docQ - An application aimed at eliminating the frustration associated with waiting in the Doctor's Surgery by providing an online, interactive queue - combined with appointment reminders - so that patients can see if there is a delay and vary their arrival time accordingly - as well as helping to reduce 'no shows' and wasted appointments.

JerseyITGuy - Apple Watch improving Mental Health - A simple application bringing 'brain training' to the Apple Watch was shown as a proof of concept, followed by the main project - a Mood Tracking application which aims to make it simple for patients suffering with depression or anxiety to record how they are feeling. By feeding this data back to a care/supervision team, this could also be used as an early warning to provide interventions much sooner for vulnerable patients.

Benedict Lewis - Lokki - A web based platform collating travel data from a variety of sources such as the CDC, allowing users to find out which vaccinations they may need and if any travel alerts are in effect when considering a particular destination. Also provides the facility to track vaccinations and to let users set reminders for when their boosters are needed. will be working alongside the winning team to help them implement their app in Jersey. The app, which aims to help emergency services locate people in distress, will complement Jersey’s first responder strategy launched earlier this year.

I’d like to thank everyone involved in organising, facilitating and judging the Hackathon – as a community event, it simply couldn’t have happened without the generosity of local businesses and individuals giving their time and donations.

I’d also like to congratulate all participants for their truly excellent ideas and solutions. It’s heartening to see what a strong digital community we have in Jersey – and the interest that HackJSY15 generated among first-time coders and hackers. I’m sure we’ve seen some future members in the making!

I look forward to our next steps with the new emergency services app, and Jersey’s next Hackathon.

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