Businesses tasked with finding NHS solutions at two-day hacking event

West Midlands businesses have taken part in a two-day hacking event aimed at improving NHS access for the region’s patients.

Birmingham City University is running the STEAMlabs Health Hack event, was held on Wednesday 18 April, and saw small and medium sized organisations tasked with finding ways to make health services easier to use.

The event focussed on some key regional health issues, such as diabetes and respiratory and see how technology could be used to improve how patients interact with the NHS to cure and control their illnesses.

The Health Hack forms part of Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects’ STEAMhouse initiative which aims to maximise the benefits of connecting science, technology and maths disciplines with the arts.

It took place at STEAMhouse site on Digbeth High Street from until 6pm on April 19. The first day featured a series of keynote speakers and team selection, with ideas, planning, prototypes and pitches taking place on the second day.

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “Increasingly we are seeing just how beneficial it is to bring together people from traditionally science-based backgrounds and those from artistic backgrounds.

“In the West Midlands we are fortunate to have a strong history of manufacturing and to have been home to some real artistic talent and these are things that continue to form our identity.

“The Health Hack was a great way for people to showcase their innovation while addressing an important issue for our region’s residents, and make some new contacts at the same time.”

On arrival at the Health Hack, organisations were handed information on the challenge and asked to form teams.

After 12 hours working on the product they were given the opportunity to present their creations in front of NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and offered space at STEAMhouse, to develop their prototype further with potential to secure funding.

Ash Vora, Head of Digital, NHS Birmingham South and Central CCG, said “This event helps us to place design thinking at the heart of our strategy, developing creative solutions with businesses we would otherwise never have had chance to meet”.

STEAMhouse, Engagement Manager, Alexa Torlo said: “The Health Hack is bringing together a range of businesses driving change in the region. It is an empowering process and helps break down barriers across sectors and helps promote the innovations.”