Back in March 2017, six students from the Department of Computer Science attended the Welsh Health Hack at the Life Sciences Hub, Cardiff Bay.

The event was run as a collaboration between the Wales Deanery, Welsh Government Healthcare Innovation team, ABCI (Aneurin Bevan Continuous Improvement Hub) and the Bevan Commission.

Welsh Health HackPhotograph left to right: James Lewis, Osian Smith, Lauren Powell, Adithiya Radhakrishnan, Alastair Hawkes and Peter Wathall

The students were able to use the Hack as a platform to identify and discuss inefficiencies within the healthcare service with medical professionals and to work on a prototype for a chosen project.

The six students formed three teams, two of which became winners with their design concept and application. The teams comprised of:

  • Lauren Powell and Osian Smith - GP Capture Personal Health (Winners)
  • Adithya Radhakrishnan  and Alastair Hawkes - 3D Capture of Eye Surgery
  • James Lewis and Peter Wathall - Mums' ABC Contraceptive App (Winners)

The teams were commended for their professionalism, creativity and commitment to their projects and the feedback that they received was excellent:

James and Peter joined the team to build a prototype application for pregnant and postnatal women to decide on methods of contraception and a self assessment questionnaire. Further intricacies of the application involved a reminder regarding next contraception requirement and finding the nearest geographical location. 

They both fully integrated within the team which was largely comprised of medical professionals. They quickly realised that building the app within the time period was not going to be possible and they modified their plan to show screen shot examples to present at the dragon’s den panel. They both asked for further clarification if something was not understood and even recommended alternative ways of presenting ideas within the application. Time scales were clearly laid out by them to the rest of the team as well as the feasibility of certain parts of the application. Managing the medical team’s expectations was handled very maturely - a key aspect when dealing with industry no doubt. 

Both stayed later than the rest of the team to work on the application showing commitment and determination. The following morning, goals were set in order to complete the necessary work for the dragons den presentation. The goals were completed in the allotted time. I asked for one of the boys to present with me and James took on this role. Although I was unaware of his previous presenting skills, he was happy to practice his part of the presentation and receive feedback. During the final presentation, James kept to time and presented clearly and effectively helping the ‘dragons’ understand the concept of the app by showing how users would interact with it. 

I look forward to working with both of them in the future on the development of this app. 

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Having the Swansea University students at the Hack made the project possible. So many healthcare professionals identify inefficiencies or holes in the complex and often archaic systems the healthcare service is fraught with but don’t have the forum or the skills to address this. Some are simple and some more difficult to make a reality. Lauren and Osian maturely identified the project as one that was within their capabilities and achievable within the time available given their skill set and diligently worked together to create a working prototype in under 2 days. Had they not joined the team we wouldn’t have had the expertise or momentum to create a proof of concept to present to a discerning panel of experts during the Welsh Health Hack and, ultimately, be one of only four projects backed by the Bevan Commission to help make the project a reality. I hope they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will continue to contribute to the project going forwards.