Hacking into health data: what RnR run Wellness Hackday in Birmingham produced

What is a hackday and how can it help improve well-being?
A bunch of professionals with a background in health care, coaching, non-profit, digital tech and journalism researched a few health related data sets available. Also, a number of participants brought their own ideas on board, discussed and looked at available information. The Wellness Hackday organised by RnR and hosted by The Active Wellbeing Society triggered thought and produced result to be further developed. 

Watch snippets of the Wellness Hackday to see what participants researched and what they achieved throughout the day.

Meant to bring people with different professional backgrounds together, a hackday creates the context for gathering, researching and interpreting data. At the event organised by RnR, journalists, healthcare professionals, data and tech specialists, nonprofit specialists and also a former local councillor worked in teams. Each team used the sets of data offered by the organisers, or chose a topic of their own interest to gather information on.

Professionals  and patients can work together on the existing data

As seen in the above video, the results of one day of collaborative work show the following:

  • The data available on well-being is incomplete and rather comparative. Very little of it seems to be used to promote wellness and an active lifestyle at a community level.
  • Also, local councils and nonprofit organisations could improve their use of data. In working together to interpret available information, they could educate and raise awareness on how people can stay healthier.
  • Patients’ experience, as well as research, show how much support groups and alternative methods bring improvement. However,  social prescribing for example remains underused, despite the positive results it historically achieved.
  • Health professionals and tech specialists can collaborate to develop tools available to the larger public. Through available data and scientific parameters, these tools will enable individuals to monitor their well-being. By doing so, they will take more responsibility. This will encourage the shift from treating illness to encouraging prevention.

As a result of working with colleagues on the day, I will further look into social prescribing at a local level. I will research of how GPs in the Black Country and surrounding areas use this alternative method. Also, I intend to record and publish further interviews with both healthcare professionals and patients.


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