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Highly skilled tech developers endured a sleepless night in Crumlin Road Gaol over the weekend to come up with and develop ideas to tackle the challenges facing the health service.

The hack is part of Belfast tech firm TotalMobile’s Code for Better campaign, which launched at the start of the summer to bring people with great ideas and those with a passion for coding together to collaborate on solutions to some of the problems facing the health sector.

A range of hackers attended the hack, from experienced developers to those still in university. Even a hacker as young as 16 worked on a web based project.

From seven teams, five presented in the final hours and the panel of judges was blown away by the standard that was presented after just 24hrs.

The winning team was Med Manager, which included Ryan Beckett, Amit Sharma, Martin McKeaveney, Darren Murray, Rory Powell and Glenn Sayers. Med Manager is a bed managing system to solve nurses trawling the wards with clipboards looking for free beds. It has a colour coded database that shows what beds are available as well as a scheduling system.

Others presenting included Disease Index, Bed Manager, Doctor Action and also a Vaccine Tracking App.

Judges included 3fivetwo Healthcare’s CEO Mark Regan, Ciara Gallagher from Marie Curie, Angela Thompson from Reconnect, Gareth Tolerton from TotalMobile and David Petticrew from the Health and Social Care Board. Graphic designers from Big Motive provided workshops in design and prepared teams for presentation.

Angela Thompson, Executive Director of Reconnect, said:  “TotalMobile’s innovative Health Hack event attracted a large number of talented and creative young developers who were able to design, develop and demonstrate working models of interactive websites and applications – all within 24 hours!

“The fact that most of the team members didn’t know each other prior to the event was also to their credit as they worked together seamlessly to produce concept designs of an extremely high standard.”

Ciara Gallagher, Marie Curie, said: “Hugely impressive presentations made the judging decision very difficult. It was amazing to see what could be turned around by developers in just 24 hours.  In the end the winning team had the strongest score against all of the criteria of Impact, Completeness and Innovation.  Congratulations to all who took part and the winning app, Med Manager.”

Mark S. Regan, CEO Kingsbridge Private Hospital, said: “The diversity and outstanding calibre of the developers in this year’s health hack, reaffirms that our skill base in this sector locally is second to none – if only we could apply political leverage to showcase this on the world stage, where I have every confidence we could excel in bringing corporate interest to our shores.

“In just 24 hours many of the competing developers produced products that would often take months to realise in the real world.”

First time hacker Pamela Nelson said: “It was my first hackathon and all the effort shown, kind and helpful staff and great facilities have left me wanting more. I definitely will be attending many more thanks to the great experience I had. I will definitely recommend them to my friends. As a student in uni it has encouraged me to get out there and learn more about the technologies around me.”

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