Better forecasting of outcomes team wins cancer data hackathon

Twelve teams have competed to create product prototypes aimed at improving cancer care within the NHS in Scotland. The ‘Product Forge Cancer Data Dive’ teams used specially generated synthetic data that modelled NHS data, alongside other open data sets provided by NHS National Services Scotland.

Their goal was the development of tools and processes that could, with appropriate NHS data control, be applied in real healthcare settings. Mentors from the Data Lab, NHS National Services Scotland and its Information Services Division, Toshiba Medical, Edinburgh University, Breast Cancer Now, and Digital Treetop combined to support the participants.

The concepts were developed from scratch over the weekend of the event. Team OIMK won the hackathon with their project ‘Prognict’. Made up of by Matthew Sharpe, Ian Beh, Khushboo Mehra, Orisa Ngampakdeepanich and Cynthia Morel, it developed a doctor-friendly platform to improve the forecasting of cancer outcomes in order to improve advance-care planning.

The three-day event began with the formation of teams and, after taking into consideration what patients, patients’ families, carers, nurses and doctors would benefit from, concept development – culminating in pitching to a judging panel comprising Professor Aileen Keel, of the Farr Institute Scotland, Dr Stuart Fancey, of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Jude McCorry, of the Data Lab.

Steph Wright, project development manager for the Cancer Innovation Challenge said: “[It] was an amazing few days. Product Forge has created a vibrant environment and I’ve been really impressed by participants’ enthusiasm for the challenge. I’m really looking forward to see how we can help some of the teams take things further after the event and also to see how some of them can help us shape the next funding call for the Cancer Innovation Challenge.”

Dr Fancey, the SFC’s director of research and innovation, added: “I was delighted to judge such an exciting and innovative competition and to see the work of talented people striving to improve cancer care in Scotland. The standard of all of the teams taking part was extremely high which made choosing a winner difficult but very interesting. Congratulations to OIMK for their well-deserved win against some strong opposition.”

Professor Keel, director of the Farr Institute’s innovative healthcare delivery programme, said: “It was hard to believe that the Data Dive participants only had three days to come up with viable ideas to utilise the data in cancer care and research. I’d like to congratulate the winners, and thank all the participants, mentors and organisers for their wonderful work. Projects like this show that if we bring together people from different science disciplines, we really can create new, innovative ways of using data.”

Jude McCorry, head of business development at the Data Lab, said: “I did not really know what to expect from the pitches, but I was blown away – that these groups of people met up three days before and came together as a team, built some thing technically innovative and adaptive for healthcare in Scotland and possibly worldwide.”

Watch the highlights here.


About the Cancer Innovation Challenge and Product Forge

The Cancer Innovation Challenge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and is a collaboration between the Data Lab, the Digital Health & Care Institute and Stratified Medicine Scotland. It is also supported by NHS National Services Scotland, the Usher Institute, the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme, The University of Edinburgh, the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit and Stirling University. The Cancer Data Dive was supported by MBN, FutureScot, SBNN, R-Studio, Medic Footprints, GitHub, StartEdin, XYZ and Wolfarm.

Product Forge brings together developers, creatives and entrepreneurs to build new products that solve real world problems.  It run hackathons with a twist; our hack events develop teams and products that tackle society’s hardest challenges. Participants use design thinking and digital technology to rapidly prototype their ideas, with support from mentors who have real world commercial experience. Product Forge also livestreams for a range of technology, design and enterprise events, including interviews with startup founders and entrepreneurs.