BAPRAS/Touch Surgery Hackathon

27th July 2016


Within the organisational silos of modern day healthcare the day-to-day problems of a Plastic Surgeon may seem unique and in some cases insurmountable. But for those involved in the BAPRAS/Touch Surgery Plastic Surgery Hackathon there was an opportunity to change that way of thinking. 

For those not familiar with the concept of a Hackathon; think of it as the ‘Innovation MDT’, where specialists gather over 48 hours to develop a management plan to specific problems. Unlike a traditional MDT, members of the innovation variant are software designers, medical technology entrepreneurs, journalists, venture capitalists and Plastic Surgeons.

Over the warm weekend of 4 and 5 June, the BAPRAS Innovation Group invited twenty members to the UK's first plastic surgery Hackathon, held in the Balderton Capital HQ in London's Kings Cross.

Given that this was the first ever Plastic Surgery Hackathon there was nervousness about what could be achieved during such a short period of time by people who had never met. Such thoughts were quickly banished as our participants settled into their pre-assigned teams and set to work ‘hacking’ their chosen problem. An early tour of our seven teams at work was truly enlightening as ideas began to turn into tangible things such as coding for phone apps, microsurgical skill recording devices and debates over business models and expected turnovers in Year 2 of business – a true learning opportunity for the assembled Plastic Surgeons. 

Judges-questions hackathon

Day 2 started promptly with teams preparing pitches to demonstrate how they would turn their ideas into real-world applications. Minds were focused on the $500 ‘Intel Code for Good’ first prize which would be awarded by our panel of medtech industry judges. There were hints of Hollywood from Team PJ’s, led by Barbara Jemec and Sarah Tucker, as they shot video footage for their pitch.

Eventually the hacking was brought to an end and the tension was palpable as teams sat back and listened to their competitors 5 minute pitches and the judges Q&A’s. 
First to pitch was Team Lister, who detailed how they would use developed software to improve theatre data collection and real time theatre progress notifications to patients and nursing staff

Second to present were Team Sens8 who presented a prototype dressing that would sense early signs of infection which could alert patients and caregivers at an earlier stage than is currently possible.

The third presentation was by Team Caretracker led by Baljit Dheansa who detailed how they would improve patient aftercare following discharge from hospital. The judges posed challenging questions that were skillfully answered

Team PJs pitched to the judges fourth and would probably win the award for most entertaining pitch. With video clips demonstrating the inefficiencies of trauma patient management they presented how they could use modern technology to track patients in their journey through the trauma system. Given the obvious parallels to Team Lister, the judges were keen to identify unique selling point of the approach.

Team VTAP then followed with their presentation on the Video Training Assessment Portfolio (VTAP). The VTAP system could allow trainees in Plastic Surgery to record simulated standardised surgical procedures which are objectively assessed remotely and included in a trainees portfolio.   

Team Openscope also presented on how they could improve microsurgical training. 

The final presentation was by Team Inspire who at one point literally had the audience on their feet as they explained how they would aim to preoperatively train patients in how to optimize their breathing technique and therefore improve postoperative outcomes. 

Presentations all over, the judges were then left to consider and reflect on the efforts of our teams. 

As the tension peaked at the end of their deliberations they announced that the overall winners were Team Lister and runners up were Team Inspire.  


On behalf of the BAPRAS Innovation Team, I would like to thank our co-sponsors, Touch Surgery for their help in arranging the event and to Balderton Capital for allowing us to use their amazing HQ as a base

You can keep up with further Innovation Group activities by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn or the BAPRAS website


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