Hacking at the Nordic Health Hackathon 2019

Nordic Health Hackathon 2019

In March, I was offered an exciting opportunity to participate in the Nordic Health Hackathon. I welcomed the opportunity with open arms, even though I lacked any previous experience in hackathons. Still, having participated in games jams as part of my studies in video games at the KUAS, I had a basic idea of developing software in a short time frame. So why not?

Powered by Nordic Innovation, the aim of the Nordic Health Hackathon was “[…] to improve health and quality of life for Nordic citizens by creating a healthy supportive environment based on innovative patient facing digital solutions.” The best solution was rewarded with a prize of €10 000. The event in Helsinki lasted from March 29 until March 31 (the first event was in Reykjavik, Iceland, on the previous week).

The preparation for the hackathon began on Friday afternoon at a networking event in the Embassy of Iceland in Helsinki. During the gathering, I learned that the hackathon had attracted participants from all over the world, including China, Iceland, Pakistan, Germany, and Estonia. Indeed, I was surprised to find out that in our team were the only Finnish participants!


The hacking began on Saturday before lunch, and the code freeze was on Sunday afternoon, so we had a little over 24 hours. Our project was called mama-card, which was to be a digitalised version of the archaic but still-in-use paper version of the maternity card. In our team of three, my role was wireframing the Android app and working on the user-interface, which I enjoyed greatly.

We spent the two nights in Scandic Meilahti, which was located a throwing distance from the Terkko Health Hub in Meilahti. During the second night, I had the intention of hacking though the whole night, but as a regular gym goer (I recommend trying out the Hot Gym Kino nearby), I realised that my body simply needs the rest. Back to the hotel, and after a three-hour slumber, I was back at work.

On Sunday afternoon, after the code freeze, we had the presentations and a chance to see the work of around 15 or so other teams. The solutions were varied, and covered, among other things, vaccinations, medicine prescriptions, different aspects of motherhood, and skin cancer prevention. In the end, our project was not enough to claim the first prize, but we left the event happy and one experience richer.