Community | 17 September 2018 - by Ian Midgley

KCOM finds innovative solutions for Humber Care Tech Challenge

Can technology help improve lives for the better?

That was the challenge to 12 teams of tech and IT experts who took part in the Humber Care Tech Challenge.

The KCOM-sponsored event, which was held at Bridlington Spa on Wednesday, 5 September and Thursday, 6 September, sought to provide solutions for real world health and social care problems by asking the teams to come up with radical new tech-based answers.

A spokesman for the event said events such as the Humber Care Tech Challenge opened up previously untapped ways of thinking and problem solving.

He said: “Councils and the NHS are spending more and more each year supporting vulnerable residents and patients in their homes. It is more important than ever to deliver health and social care efficiently and to make it easier for vulnerable people to get the help they need.

“The Humber Care Tech Challenge is an exciting opportunity for participants to develop as yet unimagined technology solutions which will help to make the home a safe and proactive part of health and social care.

“Technical experts from Amazon and Principal ICT Business Analysts from East Riding of Yorkshire Council were on hand at the event to help teams refine and develop your ideas.

“The winning teams will also receive support from mentors at Amazon, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the University of Hull to help turn their ideas into real products and make a difference in the Humber region and beyond.”

IT specialist Jon Woodcock was part of the three-strong KCOM team – completed by Tim Midwinter and Ravi Kota - which took part in the event, pitting its wits against a wide range of other experts.

He said: “It was a really fun event and a great thing to be part of. The idea behind the event is to talk to the health care professionals there and to find out the sort of problems they face on a daily basis.

“Then you try to come up with a tech idea that would help make their lives easier and actually build the app or the IT service.

“The great thing is, the best ideas are then taken forward with mentors and looked at to see if they could become real, actual apps or services.”

The Humber Care Tech Challenge was organised by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and the University of Hull in a bid to kick start creative ways of solving social care problems.

From issues such as isolation and safety in the home to making sure people take their medication on time, technology can make a massive difference in people’s lives, say organisers.

The KCOM team’s idea involved building an app to remind patients when to take their tablets, informing their carers the medication had been taken, and then feeding back any reactions to the patients’ doctors.

Jon said: “The first day is all about thinking of an idea, which is then marked by the judges. On day two you have to build a working prototype – which to do in just one day was totally exhausting and left us a bit frazzled!

“But it is a great way of learning new skills, collaborating with a whole range of other IT professionals and thinking laterally to make everything work.”

The winning team’s suggestion, to create software allowing elderly people who have fallen at home to ask Alexa to call for help, alongside other ingenious solutions enabling independent living, are now being looked at by mentors from the University of Hull, C4DI and Amazon Web Service for real world applications.

Alan Worthing, KCOM’s director of business, said it was important companies such as KCOM helped to innovate at events such as Humber Care Tech Challenge.

He said: “We were delighted to support the Humber Care Tech Challenge and take part in the excellent two-day event. KCOM has a long history of innovation and creativity in the tech sector and it’s great to be able to put our skills to good use developing ideas that could help improve people’s lives.”

  • For more details about the Humber Care Tech Challenge click here.