Glintt’s Hugo Maia: “LACS was a good venue for our hackathon because it’s an environment that encourages disruptive thinking”
LACS spoke to Hugo Maia, innovation director for Glintt – a technology and consulting company focused on the healthcare sector – about the hacking marathon his company hosted at LACS Conde d’Óbidos on 11 October. The 18-hour event gathered together over 20 tech teams, with more than 90 people, to develop digital solutions for improving access to healthcare, with a €3,000 prize awarded to the best prototype application at the end of the day.
For those of us that don’t know, can you describe what a hackathon actually entails?
It’s an event that puts people under pressure to come up with a technological solution for a specific challenge or problem within a short space of time. That challenge is given to the tech teams and based on the technological platforms provided the teams examine that problem for a very limited period, in this case just 18 hours.
It’s a context that encourages people to think together about the same project in an intensive way and leads to creation of prototypes very quickly compared with a more traditional approach.
The Hacking Health event took place at LACS on 11 October. How did it go?
It went very well. This was our first hackathon and the first in the field of health technology and was very important for us as a company. It made use of three different tech platforms – Microsoft, Oracle e Outsystems.
It was a success because we had very good feedback from the participating teams, who enjoyed the experience and because of the number of ideas they came up with. Practically all the teams created a prototype.
What teams took part and where were they from?
It was a blend of teams from Glintt itself and teams from Instituto Bragança, Coimbra University and Instituto Superior Técnico (ISTEC) as well as other renowned institutions. From Glintt there were around 50 to 60 people of a total of about 90 people in more than 20 different teams.
What challenges were put forward for the teams to develop solutions?
The main challenge was, “How can technologies improve access to healthcare services?” and within that there were four sub-categories related to intelligent triage systems, measuring the quality of the services provided, how to help people better manage their relationship with doctors and/or drugs, and how technology can train coaches in the healthcare segment. But these were just suggestions and the teams could choose to develop solutions for other problems, provided they were focused on healthcare.
Which prototype solution won? What problem does it solve?
We had a 3,000-euro prize for the winning team, but we also ended up giving “honourable mentions” to two more teams and awarded them a prize of 1,000 euros each.
The winning team developed a solution called Med.GPS using Outsystems technology. It’s a mobile application that provides users with information about the availability of specific medication. The first honourable mention went to the EVA project from Instituto Superior Técnico, which used Oracle technology to develop a chat-bot that helps healthcare providers to solve problems with the tech the use every day. The second honourable mention went to PHARMA.QUEST, which is a virtual assistant for access to healthcare based on Oracle technology.
Why did Glintt choose LACS for the Hacking Health hackathon?
We looked at various locations and previously held similar code-jam events at our own offices. We chose LACS because of its central location, because it is easily accessed by car or public transport and because of the space itself. The rooftop area meant the teams wouldn’t have to be closed in the same room for 18 hours and could get some fresh air. So, we reserved an area of the rooftop during the hackathon for teams to take active breaks in a more relaxed setting.
What did LACS provide as a venue for that was beneficial for this type of event?
LACS was a good venue for our hackathon because it’s an environment that encourage disruptive thinking. Because of its décor and the types of companies working there and it’s an informal location that focuses on creativity.
Is Glintt considering repeating the experience?
The event was focused on digital health and, as a company, Glintt wants to be an innovator in that space and we wanted this to be a standout event. We plan to repeat the event at least once a year and we are now considering holding it in 2020 at about the same time of year.