Making a breakthrough in the health care sector in just three days: It seems like an almost impossible task. And yet this is exactly what Dutch Hacking Health—an event that really can accelerate innovation—aims to achieve! The fourth Dutch Hacking Health was held in the first two weeks of April, with health care hackathons organized in five cities (Amsterdam, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Utrecht). I am proud to be contributing to the event on behalf of Janssen.
A hackathon works a little like a pressure cooker. For three days, driven, multidisciplinary teams work toward finding a solution to a challenge in the health care sector. On the last day, they present the end result to a local jury. The worlds of designers, IT specialists, health care professionals, and patients come together to create a fascinating mix.
With his bright red tee-shirt, M. Erik Gerritsen, Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, is a fervent supporter of the Dutch Hacking Health ecosystem.
A hackathon starts with a specific problem. For example, how do you as a patient or a relative of a patient stay on top of what is going on during a hospital stay? Often, it can be difficult to form a complete picture based on the fragmented information you receive from nurses or doctors. Sometimes it can feel like you’re no longer in control. During Dutch Hacking Health 2018, this challenge was successfully addressed by a team at Bravis hospital. Since then, software company ChipSoft and the hospital have been working together to put the improved Mijn Zorgteam patient portal to the test. This is a result that will directly benefit patients and their relatives.
This year, Dutch Hacking Health will focus on specific themes at various locations. Participants in Nijmegen will tackle challenges relating to future-proofing the labor market in the health care sector and local health care provision. In Utrecht, personalized care is top of the agenda. Amsterdam will look at a mix of topics, including delivering the right care in the right place, as well as mental health. Rotterdam and Maastricht have opted for an open format, where participants will be able to look at challenges relating to various topics.
Sponsors’ logos are displayed on all tee-shirts
Innovations that arise from a hackathon or start as an initiative within a hospital can often also be implemented in other hospitals. By looking at these kinds of innovations with the right partners from industry, we can generate additional power to give high-potential innovations that extra boost. Janssen is keen to play a role in this process. With our broad portfolio of innovative medicines, we see it as our responsibility to work together with hospitals, patient organizations, and, for example, tech companies to accelerate the learning process that’s involved in health care innovation and, through these partnerships, to contribute to improving the Dutch health care sector. With this goal in mind, Janssen has this year become a proud national partner of Dutch Hacking Health for the first time, alongside Deloitte, Vosko, Cisco, and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
As a project manager, I will support the organization this year by helping to coordinate the local hackathons at a national level — which will be a great challenge! In the future, we also want to work with the various local organizers and national partners to create a more professional and sustainable national organization.
“With our broad portfolio of innovative medicines, we see it as our responsibility to work together with hospitals, patient organizations, and, for example, tech companies to accelerate the learning process that’s involved in health care innovation”
I know from my own experience how much positive energy there is buzzing around during health care hackathons. You work together with teammates from a wide range of backgrounds and truly learn about the people behind a specific challenge. This way of working helps you produce some truly creative and fitting solutions. At the hackathons, I met people with the same passion. Everyone puts all their effort into coming up with a solution to a challenge instead of focusing on problems. I brought this positive energy back with me when I returned to Janssen. Inspired by last year’s hackathon, I now focus even more on the person/patient in my day-to-day work.
Dutch Hacking Health 2019
Hacking Health Nijmegen organizers: Concha van Rissjel (left) and Robin Hooijer (right)
Early April is when it all begins: In Amsterdam, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Utrecht, a series of hackathons will take place over two weeks. At each event, you can see on a small scale what we need to do on a large scale to accelerate health care innovation in the Netherlands and to maintain affordability. To sum it up: It’s all about working together. If we take the time to really understand a problem and leverage each other’s strengths, I am convinced that we can find even more innovative and patient-focused solutions.
On our shared journey to the health care of the future, it’s all about the mix.
If you’re curious about the power of the health care hackathon, why not join in? More information about hackathons in the Netherlands can be found here. Click through to the various locations and sign up in your favorite city.
Original text from Sander van Nuland, Project Specialist, Janssen BeNeLux