IV Hakathon de Salud. A mentor’s perspective

Written by Laura McDermott, Design Lead at the Centre for Social Innovation.

On 7th and 8th of June, medical professionals, academics, health experts and innovation enthusiasts gathered at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid for the fourth annual Health Hackathon, organised by COM SALUD and eSalud.

Teams were organised into health-related challenges ranging from videogames to vaccines, with cash prizes from COM SALUD, SANDOZ, Cerner, Novartis, Telefónica and Salud sin Bulos.

Being a mentor provided a great opportunity to interact with passionate innovators who are trying to solve pressing issues in the healthcare space. Mentors at the event were diverse in their backgrounds, some coming directly from the clinical space and others from design or UX backgrounds.

One of the key tips I gave the hackathon groups was that, when designing solutions for patients, practitioners, caregivers, or in fact anyone involved in the treatment of a condition, it is essential to keep the end-user and relevant stakeholders in mind. An effective way of considering how well your solution might be adopted is to analyse whether the end user will 1) know, 2) want, or 3) have the ability to use the solution. Oftentimes we can come up with great ideas to solve real-world issues, but fail to consider the implementation of that solution. The teams at the Health Hackathon had a great level of engagement with the end user, understanding their needs and pain points.

At the end of the 2-day event, each team presented their projects to an expert panel and 6 teams won the sponsored challenges. For more info and to see images from the event, check out the Hackathon webpage.

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