NHS Hack 2014

NHS Hack Day was a truly unique event. Had a great couple of days with some incredible people from all over the NHS who are passionate for change. Very inspiring!

A little about the event: “NHS Hack Days are weekend events that brings together doctors, nurses, developers, designers, and other “geeks who love the NHS” to create disruptive solutions to problems in the health space. NHS Hack Days are ongoing and enjoy the support of prominent international health care and technology leaders.

Read more about it here: http://nhshackday.com

The weekend kicked off with registration and a pitch session where individuals or groups with ideas had a set amount of time to pitch to everyone in the room. The aim was for those ideas to pick up interested parties who can, over the next day or so, help make the idea a reality.

There were many interesting pitches, but OpenQI was the one which stood out. After the pitching session had finished, we had to find the guys who pitched the ideas and request to join the team and help. Unfortunately, the event had a slight lack of developers which meant developer skills were in short supply, so the ‘find and join’ part didn’t take too long.


Shortly after forming the team, we began brainstorming the idea further to discuss what type of technologies we can muster together, and how much we can achieve over the next day and a bit. As always, this stage took a little longer than expected! Which ate into our coding time significantly on the first day, which meant we had to prioritise what we really needed.

After a long 8 or so hours we had a basic structure up and running spitting out data via our API. The aim was to get a structure, database, and basic functionality up and running before calling it a night (No overnight sleeping was permitted at the venue). At this point, we all agreed it would be a great idea to hit Cardiff and grab a couple of pints (which was brilliant as we got into some fascinating discussions with some awesome people!).

The next day, after much needed refreshments…


We got going on filling in the blanks of yesterdays performance. We were a little behind on what we’d like to have at this point, but we carried on anyway, aiming to have a basic prototype ready by 3PM for judging.

The next thing we knew – it 2:30PM. Only 30 minutes before we have to get up on stage. We were a little disappointed that the prototype wasn’t quite there, although, we quickly threw together our presentation and went ahead anyway. During our presentation we had some interesting questions and feedback which really sealed the deal that this project must continue past the weekend, and must be made.

We didn’t win, but the project gained some interested parties. Before we all departed, we got together one final time and had a chat about continuation. Everyone agreed the project must go on, and on it did. The project is still ongoing, and we’re looking forward to getting a minimal viable product up in the next few months to begin trial roll outs in certain hospitals. You can read a little more about the project here: OpenQI. From Tidy’s perspective, we’re looking to build, maintain and host the product while the true innovators of the idea (Dr Conrad Lee (@ckwl1) and Dr Michael George (@drmgeorge87)) are pushing the product hard in the NHS.

Also as an extra, here’s a sum-up video from the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73wI0pVpt9Q&feature=youtu.be