3 easy ways to help healthcare go digital

Our experience at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital hackathon

“The things that will come out of today will help the children we see in our clinic because we won’t just be rehashing the same thing we’ve been doing for 50 years, we’ll be trying something new” — Ian Sinha, Respiratory Consultant at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

What do you get if you fill a room with clinicians, creatives, techies, parents, patients and innovators?

Well at Alder Hey’s Hackathon In The Park, we found out…

Two days. 10 teams. And a whole lot of problem solving. The hackathon at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool was all about creating digital solutions to the real problems faced in the healthcare industry everyday. Nova’s staff participated and mentored the teams alongside people from SO-MO, Our Healthy Future and Orcha as well as members from the local community and Alder Hey healthcare professionals. It was this pretty unique group of people that meant we were able to think about the problems we were tackling in a whole new way.

Over the course of the hackathon we worked on a huge scope of problems. The isolation of patients due to their conditions, keeping teenage girls in sport and combating mental health in young people are only a few of issues we chose to take action against. But what did we learn from the experience?

1. Start small

There’s no point saying you’re going to solve the entire healthcare system with just one digital solution. It can be tempting to go for the biggest problem out there but it’s much less likely to have an impact. Instead, start by targeting the smaller issues that make up the bigger picture. Solving these little day-to-day problems is not only more realistic but also, chances are, the solutions you’ll end up creating are more likely to actually be effective.

2. Think problem, not solution

It’s very easy to make a solution and then try to find a problem that it solves. But this isn’t the right way of thinking about innovation and technology. The challenge is to find and understand a problem on a deeper level in order to create a solution that actually adds value to the community of users.

3. Community problem? — involve the community!

If the problem you’re trying to solve affects real people in the real world, work with them to find a solution. This way you can make sure you’re really solving the gritty details of the problem with the people who’ll know if it’s likely to be successful.

Written by Mariel Rubinstein