Thirteen teams competing at Product Forge’s hackathon, Public Health Product Forge, presented their prototypes at the weekend to overcome obstacles within public health.

In a surprising twist and for the first time in Product Forge history, two teams were chosen as joint winners of the hackathon; ViaLact, an app providing support for the initial six months of breastfeeding, as well as mapping breastfeeding friendly locations, and Docmetrics, a platform developing real time health analytics for general practitioners.

Both teams’ projects were crafted using a wealth of data available and the expertise of many mentors providing guidance and knowledge over the weekend. With an increase in the amount of data being made available, the goal of the event was to seek out new ways to utilise the information and ultimately improve the health of individuals and communities.

Lorna Jackson, of NHS Public Health & Intelligence, worked closely with Product Forge leading up to the event, said: “It’s a big learning and development opportunity, and also working with people from industry with other skills to create something new to answer some of the big questions around improving public health.”

The three day event, at The Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh, took participants through processes such as team formation, ‘ideation’, market research, and prototype development.

It culminated in Sunday’s presentations to a judging panel consisting of Phil Couser, of the NHS National Services Scotland, Marion Bain, of the Scottish Government, Graham Watson, of Scottish Health Innovation Ltd, and Aileen Keel of IHDP.

The hackathon began last Thursday evening with dinner and introductions from several mentors, including Chris Oliver, of The University of Edinburgh, Liam Cavin, of The Scottish Government, Robert Rea, of Scottish Health Innovations Ltd, Catherine Stables, of The University of Edinburgh, and Scott Heald of NHS Information Services Division.

Over the weekend participants had access to talks, guidance from mentors with a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as variety of data from the Scottish Government, Urban Big Data Centre, NHS Information Services Division, and the Scottish Public Health Observatory, to determine gaps where digital innovations could aid public health.

Watch the highlights video here.