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2013 February 19
tags: ,
by Nicholas H. Tollervey


We’re all used to hearing horror stories about healthcare in the UK: hospital failings, billions wasted on broken IT, budget cuts and the MRSA virus spring to mind. But I’d like to draw your attention to something positive, the NHS Hackdays – volunteer led weekends of intense collaboration between doctors, nurses, patients and free-software hackers to create disruptive solutions to the problems facing the NHS.

Here’s just a small selection of the work done so far:

    • What’s in my Fridge? A web-based inventory database for tracking, finding and sharing laboratory stock within the NHS.
    • Cellcountr. A free browser-based tool for haematologists to use to identify and count cells in blood samples. Replaces the current solution: an abacus and notepad.
    • ActiveLetter. A system for improving continuity of care when patients are discharged to GP care.
    • ChecklistHQ. Research shows that when medical professionals follow check-lists they save more lives and make fewer mistakes. ChecklistHQ is to medical check-lists as GitHub is to source code.
    • The NHS-ePortfolio Liberation Front. Every doctor in the UK must use a closed source, locked down and clunky ePortfolio website for tracking their continued professional development. The NELF has created a tool so doctors can log in to this site and liberate their data from the clutches of the closed system. They’ve also started to work on an open-source replacement for the service.
    • SharpScratch. A collaborative platform for helping healthcare professionals perform safer and more effective clinical procedures whilst maximising patient experience.

Various participants have blogged about their contributions. These give us a great sense of the effort put in and fun to be had at these events.

If you are interested in taking part in a free-to-attend NHSHackday you’re in luck! There are three coming soon to the following locations: Edinburgh, London and Cambridge. Check out the NHSHackday website for more details.

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