On Saturday 5 March and Sunday 6 March, Best Beginnings’ Digital Lead Katherine Robinson Hodges attended the NHS Navigation Hack, an event at the Google Campus in London, where 100+ designers, developers and health professionals came together to create an app to help migrants understand how to use the NHS.

NHS Navigation Hack MatNav presentation

Katherine pitched her idea for a midwifery app to all of the participants, who got to choose which project they wanted to work on, and worked with a team of five other people to bring this vision into reality. Katherine writes:

The language barrier is often the main challenge for NHS professionals working with migrant women, and because women may not have any expectation of receiving antenatal care, they don’t always know that they should book in during early pregnancy – many migrant women book in late. The two problems we set out to solve were migrant women

  • not knowing about the antenatal healthcare provided by the NHS
  • not understanding how to access the available care

NHS Navigation Hack sketches for MatNav appMy idea was to create a mobile app with an adaptable timeline that migrant women could use to see the contact points they could expect to have with NHS professionals, which would change if the woman was booking in late. The app would highlight the need to register with a GP and book in.Over the next two days, the team created wireframes to reflect this vision and coded up a prototype app; we called it MatNav. On Sunday afternoon, we presented the concept and how we had realised it to the judging panel and did a live demonstration of the working app from an Android phone. NHS Navigation Hack MatNav App

The judges commended the simplicity with which the timeline presented complex information, and said that the app had been designed and developed beautifully. We were placed third overall, with a Tinder-style A&E app that used images and swipes to create health profiles coming second and GP for Me, an app that used NHS Choices data to link migrants to GP practices taking new patients and give them the tools to register, as the overall winner.

The apps that each of the nine teams created will become part of a larger open source project run by the NHS.

I was really impressed by the diverse range of professional backgrounds at the NHS Navigation Hack, and I learned so much from the conversations I had with designers, developers and health professionals over the course of the weekend. It was fantastic to see everyone’s different knowledge and skills come together to create something really exciting really quickly and to know that our solutions could have a positive impact on people’s lives.

The event was also written about by The Guardian.

Check out more photos from the official event photographer Daniel Bayley here.