Digital specialists invited to take part in health tech challenge

3 February 2016

The Connected Healthcare event, which is to take place at the DMC on County Way in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.Creative digital and technology innovators are invited to take part in a design challenge to create new products for the NHS and wider healthcare sector.

The Yorkshire and Humber Digital Health Design Challenge will take place at the Digital Media Centre (DMC) in Barnsley.

The initiative will bring designers and healthcare professionals together over two ‘hackathon’ days to explore, develop and devise digital solutions to real-life patient and service delivery needs.

The workshops will be held on Thursday March 3rd and Wednesday April 20th and will tackle a selection of patient care challenges identified by local NHS trusts.

The NHS trusts involved include Barnsley Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The design challenges will be drawn from areas of patient care such as maternity, supporting people with multiple sclerosis, prevention of pressure ulcers, helping patients find their way in hospital, falls and patient safety, dementia care and advanced planning for long-term conditions.

Organised through the Connected Healthcare digital health innovation programme, the Challenge is open to all digital and design entrepreneurs, students and SME agencies across the region. It is free to apply for one of the limited places via an online form.

Connected Healthcare has been organised by the DMC, through the Enterprising Barnsley business support programme, in partnership with the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (Y&H AHSN) and Tech North.

DMC project director Tracey Johnson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together healthcare professionals and creative and digital innovators to hot house ideas for technological solutions to real-life health service challenges.

“There are plenty of examples of innovative health tech such as mobile apps, telehealth, virtual reality and robotics products already helping to improve the delivery of patient care in the modern NHS, but plenty of scope for more.”

Philippa Hedley-Takhar, head of investment and partnerships at the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network said: “Our aim is to create a stimulating environment, through the facilitated workshops, for healthcare professionals, businesses, and patients to explore how to work together, analyse a challenge and come up with a prototype and business model to tackle it. At the end of the workshops we hope participants will come out with some new products to be further developed and potentially brought to market.”

Experts in the commercialisation of health technology and intellectual property will be on hand throughout the process to advise participants on the agreed handling of each collaborative project during the process and afterwards. The hackathon event will be facilitated by Victoria Betton of Leeds-based digital health organisation mHabitat.

A Connected Healthcare ‘Access to Finance’ event will also follow the Design Challenge in the spring and will focus on possible sources of funding for product development. Challenge participants may be able to pitch their ideas at this event.

Angela Stead of Sheffield software and web design agency Switchstance, who spoke at the launch of Connected Healthcare last month, said: “Every good design begins with a conversation to gain a true understanding of who will use a product and how; and what it needs to do. This Design Challenge offers a tremendous opportunity to get key collaborators around a table and get stuck into those vital conversations.”

For more details and to apply to take part in the Yorkshire and Humber Digital Health Design Challenge go to The closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday February 15th.

Notes to editor

Attached photograph shows crowds at the launch of Connected Healthcare held at the Barnsley Digital Media Centre last month.

For further information about Connected Healthcare, contact Connected Healthcare project manager Dr Ceri Batchelder on 07979 485 595 or at

The Digital Media Centre is a creative and digital business hub and part of a portfolio of business support and accommodation available through Enterprising Barnsley, Barnsley Council's investment and development team. For further information, contact Tracey Johnson on 01226 720700 or at

The Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is one of 15 networks established by NHS England to create and harness purposeful partnerships between patients, health services, industry, and academia. It aims to create improvements in health by reducing service variability and improving patient experience; assist in ensuring new innovative products and services that have the potential to transform lives become part of routine clinical practice; and assist in providing economic growth by supporting projects that support the healthcare sector. Contact Philippa Hedley-Takhar at

Tech North is a government-funded initiative delivered through Tech City UK to accelerate the development of the North’s digital economy through the promotion and support of digital entrepreneurship. Working with stakeholders, Tech North aims to address the challenges tech entrepreneurs face in accessing finance, support, mentorship and talent. Tech North champions initiatives that support the development of the North’s digital economy. Contact Laura Bennett at

mHabitat are a small team  with hands-on health and social care practitioner experience as well as expertise in digital technologies, facilitation and event management. They support health and care organisations, academia and industry and are part of the NHS family. Visit

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more details about our PR services, please visit

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