A CTC Workshop

Code The City 07 – Health Hack

Code The City 7 – Health – 19th – 20th November 2016.

This session built on a number of hack events which we have run since 2014. The aim was to identify opportunities to simplify access to services in the health and social care domain through the better use of data.

This was a well-attended weekend with lots of lively participation from health professionals, data specialists, coders, service users and others.

You can catch up with the final presentations on this post.

All updates during the weekend were tagged CTC7.


Code the City were sponsored by the Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) to run a session on how data is structured and used in the health and social care arena, how accurate this is, how it is maintained and shared, and how it supports easy signposting and access to services.

While there was a specific challenge below that we addressed during the weekend, we encouraged participants to take a general view on the better use, presentation and re-use of data (specifically open data) as it is in the exploration of that that some of the more interesting ideas would potentially arise.

The Challenge: Sign posting to services

Some groups over the weekend will look at look at how the AHSCP’s partners, The City Council, NHS Grampian, and multiple organisations in the public and 3rd sectors all store and present information on health and social care providers, local groups, associations, clubs and societies, in various ways.

This poses challenges for the organisations themselves, for those supplying or maintaining the data, and for the public and professionals who need access to it, and to be able to rely on it.

Our observation is that most of these data stores are managed independently. The information – which held in a variety of systems – can be significantly different, the frequency of updates not synchronised, and the means by which it is collected non-standard. The data itself is often locked into the means of presentation (e.g. a website or pamphlet) with no thought to reuse.

For local groups the burden of providing the information to multiple data custodians, and sign-posting services, can be considerable.

And for service users? Well, the challenge of finding trusted, accurate, up-to-date information that meets their needs can be daunting. You Google a query and it returns four listings for the same organisation, with different email addresses, phone numbers, address or contacts ….. You get the picture!

What can we do about it?

How can the information and data be better managed, re-use made simple, standards for open data adopted? How can we crowdsource data to kickstart this? What might new sign-posting apps and services look like? How could we rapidly prototype those over the course of the weekend?

Whether you are a service user (seeking to find and make use of information), a representative of an organisation providing a service to citizens, someone who works in the Health sector, local government, or the 3rd sector  – or whether you are a coder, data-wrangler, CSS-monkey, UX expert, or service designer – we want you to work together to improve things.

If you are a blogger, videographer, photographer or would-be journalist you’d be very welcome too as the recording and sharing of progress provides a valuable additional benefit.

You really don’t have to know how to code HTML, use Python, Ruby or R, or write a SPARQL query, to attend (although we certainly won’t turn you away if you can!)

We want you to share your own unique skills and experience.

Our approach

You will workshop solutions to this data challenge, look at how we can more effectively use local data, enhance it, make it open, make it easier to navigate or to visualise it, link it with other data sources, add to previous work we’ve done at CodeTheCity, build new applications and have some fun in the process.

In return, we’ll show you new techniques for service design, idea generation, prototyping, and rapid iterative application development – and you will show others some tricks too. If you’re new to open data we’ll give you a quick briefing on that.


All attendees will get a year’s free membership of the Open Data Institute.

You can find out more about the previous events on tumblr, on the eventifier, and on flickr.