Kainos drives healthcare software innovation with Health Hack NI
26 November 2012
A pioneering ‘Health Hack’ being organised by IT company
Kainos in Belfast next month (8–9 Dec) will bring together medical
clinicians and the latest technology and design talent to brainstorm and
develop the next generation of healthcare software applications — all to
be releases as open source.
With weeks still to go, all places at Health Hack NI have already
been filled. The social entrepreneurship-led event being hosted by
Belfast City Council is just the latest in a series of initiatives
supported by Kainos to harness and foster new IT talent and
cutting-edge development techniques for the benefit of society.
The health ‘hackathon’ is targeted directly at the health sector,
where Kainos is already helping to transform hospital technology at
a rapid pace with its flagship Evolve electronic document management
and workflow solution. This has been developed hand-in-hand with
Creating open-source apps
In the spirit of social entrepreneurship, all code developed at
Health Hack NI event will be made available on an open source basis
so that clinicians and technologists are free to take it further,
using the code as the foundation for new applications capable of
transforming UK patient care.
Health Hack NI, the latest in a series of innovation-led
collaboration forums across the UK, will take place over the weekend
of December 8-9 at Belfast City Hall.
On day one, practising clinicians will present their ideas and
outline challenges they face in their jobs every day before teaming
up with skilled technology enthusiasts. Together they will design
and create real-world apps in an intensive 26-hour development
‘marathon’ across the weekend. The final products or
‘proofs-of-concept’ will be presented to an influential panel of
judges on the Sunday afternoon.
The current event has been organised by a consortium of parties
at the cutting edge of technology in healthcare. Kainos, which has a
strong track record for innovation and fostering new talent through
extraordinary competitions such as its student ‘AppCamp’, is
supporting the latest forum alongside Belfast City Council, the
Northern Ireland Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) and
technology company EMC.
Tom Gray, CTO at Kainos, said, “Instead of simply talking about
the challenges, the goal is to do something about them while all of
the stakeholders and resources are in one place. This is a rare
opportunity for enthusiastic and motivated healthcare and technology
professionals to work together in an informal and non-commercial
environment to improve local healthcare and related services.”
The event format is based on the concept of a ‘hackathon’, proven
to be a highly productive way of quickly taking ideas to working
software prototype. “By emphasising hands-on work on small projects
that can be tackled in a short period of time, assumptions can be
quickly tested, teams can be built, and momentum can be generated
for promising ideas in healthcare,” Tom explains.
On the preference for open source platforms as the basis for
development, he adds, “Our emphasis on openness is in recognition of
the fact that this is increasingly becoming the standard in the
technology industry, and across parts of government. Equally
importantly, openness in technology fits with the collaboration and
transparency found in medical and academic culture.”