DHOx Blog

Latest news and views on digital health and health technology

DHOx in 2016

2016 was a fantastic year for Digital Health Oxford, with a range of events and activities building on what had already been established over a number of years. Alongside the growing community was a continued successful series of seminars, workshops and hackathon. In addition, a number of collaborations were either cemented or started, and importantly, there was a lot of work behind the scenes to solidify the future of Digital Health Oxford and its community.

DHOx Seminars

DHOx Seminars, with invited speakers from both Oxford and outside, have formed the core of DHOx activities since it was founded, and the past year trialled a new format, with talks focused on a particular topic, often including a panel discussion. As always, we strived to find speakers with a wide range of backgrounds, and experience, and have had talks from NHS England, hospital CIOs, and CEOs of large, medium and small companies, academic researchers, students, and clinicians. The majority of talks over the past year were been recorded by the excellent ThirdLens Film, and are available to watch on the DHOx Vimeo channel, and a number of writeups can be found on the DHOx blog. Many of these talks were also hosted and curated by other DHOx team members, and a huge thanks is due to Chris Paton, Susan Graham and Alexander Finlayson for their awesome help.


2016 saw the start of a long-planned digital health workshop series. This commenced with a day-long workshop focusing on design thinking, run in collaboration with Oxford Biodesign, and has been followed up with various individual sessions on topics such as 'Dealing with health data in the real world' and 'Rapid Prototyping: How to hack from idea to prototype'. Many more are planned for the coming months, so watch this space!

DHOx Hackathon

The DHOx Summer Hackathon saw 6 more teams form around an idea presented on a Saturday morning in the Oxford Launchpad, and end the weekend with a number of new prototypes, plans for furthering those ideas, and new connections / colleagues. Again a couple of projects started at the hack weekend have gone on to have a life outside of the weekend, with one project winning a place at the Oxford University Innovatations Software Incubator, another being taken on as a standalone project within one of Oxford's digital agencies, and the evergreen Project Tide team attending their third DHOx hack, building on the startup they created from the first DHOx hack weekend in 2014, this time creating a database of open data on TB, a component of the API they are building as part of their aim to create a low cost diagnostics tool and platform. Again, more than the individual projects, this weekend provided a fantastic opportunity for people to meet others that they wouldn't ordinarily meet, build new working relationships and friendships, and have a great time in the process. We're really looking forward to seeing what the next one brings.


2016 saw a number of collaborations with different groups in Oxford, both creating new ones, and also building on existing ones:

  • The second joint event with the ever-wonderful UX Oxford on the role of design in healthcare was held at the Old Fire Station in October, with great talks from NHS.UK, Ctrl Group, OARS and Let's Talk FGM.
  • We held a joint event with Oxford Biodesign to launch the Oxford Biodesign Program in March, at the beautifully renovated Weston Library. Speakers there included Prof Sir Muir Gray, building on his previous DHOx talk about the Third Age of Healthcare; Dr Cosima Gretton, giving a first hand experience of "Digital Health on the Frontline", Dr Max Little talking about his work on the mPower project with Apple's Research Kit, and Assistant Prof James Wall from Stanford Biodesign, offering a fantastic insight into how the Stanford Program runs, and what Oxford has to look forward to
  • A joint all-day workshop with Oxford Biodesign, focusing on design thinking in healthcare, with some fantastic interactive sessions including:
    • "Visual Thinking" - run by Stefania Marcoli, Principal Director, Design for Healthcare at frogdesign
    • "Should the NHS endorse clinical apps, and if so how?" - with speakers from Public Health England, NICE, and NHS England
    • "UX isn't Rocket Science" - run by White October
    • "Rapid prototyping, embracing failure" - run by Global Initiative
    • "Digital health project case studies" - speakers and panel including Sleepio, Sentrian, and OARS (Oxford Acute Referrals System).
  • Workshop series being run with the fantastic support of OUCAGS in the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Work on TheHill started in 2014, as a way to embrace and facilitate the obvious capacity for digital health innovation in Oxford. Whilst being an organisation that aims to support the field of digital health in all forms, whether clinical, academic, education, technical, Digital Health Oxford of course recognises the innovation component as an essential and important one, through entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship, starting from inside academia, the NHS, digital/technical professionals, or other. Through partnering with Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) and the Oxford AHSN, it was fantastic to see the first set of digital health innovation events launch in the summer of 2016, hosted by OUH. These events comprised of short talks based on different components of the innovation pathway, followed by semi-structured networking, including a well-received matchmaking session to match people with skills to people with ideas. This series culminated with a pitching event, with 30 people giving a 60 second pitch in front of an expert panel and full autitorium, with 7 teams selected to enter the inaugural pre-incubator program run by TheHill. More details of the next incubator will be released shortly, you can sign up to the mailing list on TheHill website, or the DHOx mailing list for this and even more information/events.

2016 in Numbers

Although raw numbers are certainly not the most important measure of the community, they reflect the growth of the community and activity in Oxford. During the year over 1000 people attended various DHOx events. The DHOx Meetup group grew by 50% to over 800 members, whilst the @dhealthoxford Twitter now reaches 1000 followers. In combination with our mailing list, DHOx communications now directly reaches between 2000-2500 people.

AHSN Report on Digital Health

Finally, towards the end of 2016, the AHSN report on digital health capacity was released, a thoroughly researched and wide-ranging analysis of digital health activity in the region. It was a fantastic to see Digital Health Oxford highlighted as a key component of the region's offering, a well-established body that facilitated communication and interaction, with a vibrant community that is open to anyone with a professional or personal interest in the field. This is something for everybody in the community to be proud of, as it's the interaction between people in different disciplines and sectors, and their willingness to share experience, expertise, and time, that has been critical in making DHOx a success. If you haven't already, we'd recommend reading this report, which highlights the large amount of current activity in the area as well as the capacity for growth, placing Oxford and the Thames Valley region in an excellent position for future years.

Thank YOU

Huge thanks are due to everyone who participated in, helped with, attended, tweeted about, or otherwise supported Digital Health Oxford over the year. It wouldn't be possible without the support and help of the community, steering group, and core team. A special thanks is due to the venues who have made us so welcome across the city, allowing us to be accessible to different groups at different times, and particularly to our annual sponsors, whose ongoing support and generosity is fantastic and makes everything tick - Isansys, Global Initiative, Oxford Computer Consultants and White October. Thank you all, and here's to an exciting 2017!

Posted in General on Jan 22, 2017