Sciana Members Vin Diwakar (centre) and Ruth Glassborow (right) at the inaugural event (Photo:

Sciana Members Vin Diwakar (centre) and Ruth Glassborow (right) at the inaugural event (Photo:

Inaugural Sciana-backed hackathon inspires innovative ideas

More than 40 participants convene in Zurich, Switzerland, for 48-hour challenge

An app concept for crisis intervention and a prototype device which allows for diagnoses to be made via smartphone were among the winning ideas to come out of an inaugural hackathon.

The event,, took place at Careum, in Zurich, Switzerland, last month. Forty-two participants from Switzerland, Great Britain, and Germany took part.

The goal of the hackathon was to solve real-world health care challenges, together with the networks of Sciana, Careum, the Health Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Salzburg Global Seminar.

The hackathon concept is the brainchild of HealthCare Futurists, which was founded by Sciana Member Tobias Gantner. To make the hackathon a reality, Gantner received a grant from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

The grant has enabled several hackathons to be carried out across Europe. The team at HealthCare Futurists has been present to provide their vast experience on matters concerning technology and organization.

At sciana.innovate.hackathon, participants from different sectors utilized their experiences to come up with innovate solutions. They were supported by professional coaches, including programmers, designers, 3D printing experts, and a "pitch doctor".

Seven teams presented their proposals on the final evening of the program. Awards were given for the ideas that had the greatest patient benefit, the greatest health-economic effect, and best innovation. An audience prize was also up for grabs, which went to the team who worked on a health prevention app concept for employees.

Reflecting on the occasion, John Lotherington, program director at Sciana, said, "There was an amazing atmosphere of intense creativity – with a focus on tech of course, but also touching on profound issues relating to the key purposes and future for health and health care."