NHS Hack Day 13 - London

This weekend saw the thirteenth NHS Hack Day, this time held in London at KCL. At NHS Hack Day, technologists, medics, patients, and anyone else with enthusiasm and curiosity come together for a weekend to build prototypes of things that can make the NHS run just a little better. Most often these are digital tools that solve problems that staff or patients encounter in their lives.

Early on the Saturday morning we saw a huge range of ideas pitched - looking for better ways to understand and visualise information, improved systems to manage processes in health and care, and explorative projects trying to look for untapped opportunities afforded by new technologies.

One of the interesting dynamics of NHS Hack Day is the fact that most of the projects involve real collaborations between domain experts (e.g. Doctors) and digital experts who have to find a way to communicate and work together. At Open Health Care we believe that diverse multidisciplinary teams are better teams - and NHS Hack Day continues to showcase what can be achieved by small groups of passionate people given a space to collaborate and experiment.

On the Sunday afternoon, we gathered around to see what everyone had achieved over the weekend - you can see details of the fourteen teams here, or watch the whole thing (warning - it’s about an hour long). Some of our favourites are here:

The Daily Pollute

The brilliantly named Daily Pollute pulled together live sensor data about air quality in London (via the London Air API ) with location data from your mobile phone - their initial prototype giving you information about pollution levels on your regular routes.

Digital Anaesthetic Chart

Anaesthetists agree that the way they are recording information about patients under their care needs to change.

At the moment that often consists of taking numbers from a machine, and writing them by hand onto a piece of paper. The team (involving OHC’s own @fredkingham) automated the process of extracting numbers from the machine - reducing errors and increasing the number of readings you can take, as well as creating a new UX for displaying the information in line with the new AAGBI guidance for anaesthetic charts.

The potential benefits in terms of efficiency and error reduction here are huge - this is one of the many routine practices in the NHS that can be made dramatically safer, quicker and cheaper with high quality digital tools. In 2016 we shouldn’t have humans copying numbers off of a computer screen onto a paper chart.


The outbreak team designed a health record system in a box, optimised for resource strapped (no network, no power, little infrastructure) environments. With a single crate containing a Raspberry Pi server, Android Tablets for users, and a Patient management system, optimised for emergency responses, and ruggedised against failure in a situation where IT support could be hundreds of miles away.

The Outbreak team (including yours truly @thatdavidmiller) were crowned the eventual winners of NHS Hack Day 13, and are excited to find partners who can help take the project forwards.

Thanks & Looking Forwards

This was the second time that NHS Hack Day London has been organised by the amazing @DeckOfPandas, and we’d like to thank her again for all the hard work in the months beforehand and over the weekend in making sure that the event went brilliantly.

NHS Hack Day will be back in another four months in Newcastle, tickets will be released shortly - follow us on twitter and sign up to the mailing list to find out when they’re out - we hope to see you there!

Photo credits: Paul Clarke Photography

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