Europe’s ‘biggest health hackathon’ to be hosted in Edinburgh

designMembers of Europe’s health, technology, and design communities will gather in Edinburgh next year to build pioneering digital health products over the course of three days. The Digital Health Product Forge on 21-24 February is hosted in partnership with the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland, the Cancer Innovation Challenge, and the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme.

More than 200 participants will be divided into 50 teams and mentored by experts through a comprehensive product creation process, from identifying a problem to pitching their digital solution. Teams will choose to develop products within specific health tracks including data driven cancer care, wellness and wearables, surgery, and precision medicine.

The event’s organisers said that in addition to receiving expert mentoring, participants will “learn the fundamentals of creating life changing products” by attending workshops and talks on a range of topics including ideation, product design, data analysis, software development and pitching, along with talks specific to the event’s tracks.

“Collaborating with Product Forge brings together a diverse, talented and creative group of people who all have a passion for the future of healthcare,” said Mark Donohoe, engineering manager at Canon Medical, sponsor of the precision medicine track. “Participating as hackers and mentors can be intense, but great fun and hugely rewarding.”

Since January 2017, Product Forge has organised four health hackathons, producing 50 health products. “We are a community-focused organisation on a mission to create enduring teams developing marketable digital products that enable positive social change,” said a spokesperson.

Products developed at previous health-focussed events include Docmetrics, a real-time hyper-local data analytics tool for GPs, Prognict, a doctor-friendly platform to improve cancer prognostication and inform advance care planning, Pulld, a mobile condom finding service with behavioural change techniques, and MedFlag, a tool for flagging potential drug interactions in patients.

The Product Forge process, including pre-hack ideation and design workshops followed by its carefully refined hackathon format, gives participants the tools they need to rapidly prototype, test and iterate their ideas.