C.H.A.T.S wins first Hartree Hack with healthcare app for chronic conditions
24 May 2016



Team C.H.A.T.S are the winners of the first Hartree Hack with their app to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions in the community.


Team C.H.A.T.S are the winners of the first Hartree Hack with their app to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions in the community.

The two and a half day event, held at the Hartree Centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury, gave seven teams of developers, designers and ideas people the opportunity to gain knowledge and new skills in the IBM Watson APIs and apply them to create a web or mobile-based app to address a challenge of their choice.

The winning team of proud ‘non-developers’ and former strangers to one another comprised Nick de Pennington, James Wright and Chinmaya Mishra, a neurosurgeon, a statistician and an engineer respectively. They developed their idea for C.H.A.T.S (the Chronic Health Automated Telephone System) to help address the increasing demand on health services due to higher levels of patients being diagnosed with chronic diseases and an ageing population. They hope that their app could potentially improve disease monitoring, prevent patients’ conditions deteriorating before additional medical intervention is needed, and empower patients to be better able to manage their own wellness.

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Their app concept uses a range of Watson APIs including text to speech, speech to text, natural language classifier and Alchemy to try to understand and classify people’s emotional wellbeing. By winning the Hartree Hack, the team will now benefit from £25,000 worth of support from the Hartree Centre to further develop their app.

On winning the event Nick de Pennington from C.H.A.T.S said: “It was a fantastic experience, we’re still trying to get to grips with the fact that we won. Our idea was an app to monitor the health of people with chronic health conditions in the community, to understand their wellness and manage it more efficiently. What we’ve got now is a great starting point to build from and we’re looking forward to working with the Hartree Centre to implement the feedback we got from the judges and develop the project further.”

Each team delivered a 5 minute pitch and demonstration in front of a panel of judges from the Hartree Centre, IBM, InnovateUK and the Knowledge Transfer Network who were assessing them against criteria including the apps’ potential impact, creativity and uniqueness.

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Hartree Hack judge Ian Tracey, Head of Access to Funding and Finance at the Knowledge Transfer Network said: “I found the Hartree Hack a really rewarding experience. It was fantastic to see so many different opportunities from a wide range of problem areas. It was really insightful to see the sorts of issues that could be solved by merging together different dataset and analytic techniques illustrating and demonstrating the power of Watson.”

Alison Kennedy, Director of the Hartree Centre, who also judged the pitches added: “The standard was amazingly high. It was really interesting to see such a mix of teams and ideas that can solve challenges and utilise the capabilities of the Watson platform. Judging was very difficult – all teams had paid close attention to the criteria. We had to take into account lots of different factors and go for the one which we as the judges felt could benefit most from further development and provide a significant impact in their chosen application area.”

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The seven teams and the app ideas they were developing were:

  • C.H.A.T.S. - Chronic Health Automated Telephone System. A telephone-based chronic disease monitoring system in the community. The app uses IBM Watson APIs to apply behavioural analysis to determine if doctor/nurse needs to intervene.

  • AnalyseThis! - Artificial intelligent Mood Analyser

  • Deloitte Digital - Phone line question answering: providing question answers over the phone to people who typically don't have internet access

  • Emergency - Concept discovery in arXiv papers

  • MedePad – MedeDiet app: an application that uses patient medical results and also the image of the food product the patient is about to consume to give a recommended food consumption amount. For example, for conditions such as diabetes

  • Moriarty – MagnaCarta app: an in-depth cognitive analysis of the statements, behaviour and history of UK Parliament. Building upon the quantitative work done by TheyWorkForYou, applying cognitive techniques to give context to the people involved; humanising representatives and enabling greater understanding of the workings of UK government

  • The Virtual Engineering Centre - A decision making application for optimum seat belt performance taking into account regulatory requirements from different geographical regions

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Karen Lee, Head of Impact and Engagement at the Hartree Centre said: “It was fantastic to see how the teams put their new skills in the Watson API services into practice to create some really interesting and meaningful applications. At the Hartree Centre we accelerate the use of big data and cognitive technologies into organisations to solve industrial and societal challenges. Events like the Hartree Hack are a fantastic way of doing this and enable attendees to benefit quickly from our tools and expertise. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the teams, especially our winners, take their apps forward.”

View all pictures (link opens in a new window) from the event on Flickr. If you would like further information about this or future Hartree Hack events, please contact Karen Lee, Head of Impact and Engagement.