On Tuesday 22 September, our Staff Access Hackathon, a two-day hackathon aimed at improving understanding and use of identity verification technology, drew to a close. Supported by NHS Digital and commissioned by NHSx, this online event attracted 264 attendees (111 hack participants, 53 facilitators, 100 post-hack attendees) and culminated in a post-hack presentation session which comprised 10 solutions built within the two-day event.
An INTEROpen Hackathon with a Difference
Although vendor-neutrality is a cornerstone of INTEROPen community Values, the theme of this hackathon necessitated partnership with experts in what is still an emerging field of technology so we joined forces with suppliers specialising in this area, including Sitekit, Condatis and Evernym. To help hack participants prepare and make the most of this opportunity for learning, subject matter experts from these suppliers worked together to produce a series of pre-hack Masterclass videos, live Q&A sessions and demos throughout the two days and provided participants with technical support, access keys (for those wishing to test the use of Evernym’s Verifiable Credential technology), and a curated developer toolkit.
Commenting on the success of the event, Phil Graham, Digital Programme Director at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and INTEROPen board member, remarked:
“The INTEROPen Staff Access hackathon based on verifiable credentials proved to be very successful with all participants working together to create interoperable solutions. This will move the Identity and Access agenda forward greatly. The presentations were excellent and it was pleasing to see how the technologies can enable an enhanced user experience. We look forward to the next steps and building on this success. Thanks go to all the suppliers who helped to create the masterclasses, including Evernym, and to all the participants and facilitators for making the event such a success.”
Andy Tobin, Evernym’s European Director, added:
“This event represented a new chapter for verifiable credentials, where proofs-of-concept that would have taken weeks to develop a mere year ago can now be demonstrated in a matter of hours. We were really pleased with how quickly participants were able to start developing and creating innovative solutions. This really moves the focus of self-sovereign identity out of the lab and into the real world.”
The 10 Hack Presentations were as follows:
- Provisioning & Shift Working (winning hack team – Condatis)
- Authentication into Clinical Systems
- Joining the collaborative bank and applying for a shift
- NHS Identity Credential
- Patient Medicines
- Volunteer passport, possibly?
- Authentication into a Collaborative bank to enable shift bookings across an ICS
- Shared Care Records with NHS Identity
- A proposal for INTEROPerating between disparate VC ecosystems
- DiT Onboarding Flow in Jupyter
Following the presentation of the projects developed by hackathon teams over the two days, all attendees of the Post-Hack Presentation Session were invited to vote for the three hacks which impressed them most.
The following five hacks received the most votes:
The winning entry: Auto-provisioning access rights for collaborative banks
The team from Condatis won the popular vote for their demonstration of an auto-provisioning solution for staff access rights. The solution builds on another hackathon project (see #5 on this list), which allows collaborative banks (staffing facilities within the NHS that allow organizations to share in-demand doctors and other medical staff on an as-needed basis) to more efficiently onboard employees and issue shift assignments as digital credentials.
Once a doctor has been assigned a shift, Condatis’ solution allows the organization to auto-provision the required access rights through issuing a system access credential. With this credential, the doctor can show up for their shift, immediately prove qualifications and access rights, and start working immediately. After the shift, access can be removed and a shift completion credential is then issued to the doctor.
The presenters named security and time/cost savings as the key benefits. The solution was built on Evernym’s Verity and Connect.Me products, as well as Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge.
First runner-up: Authentication into clinical systems
Guy Whitmore and Luke Smith received the second-most votes for their innovative demo on the Clinical Systems team. This solution, which also leveraged Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge and Evernym’s Verity and Connect.Me, demonstrated how medical staff (particularly, locum GPs) can authenticate into hospital systems using digital credentials and digital wallets.
The team pointed to ease of use, security, and the automation of background checks as the primary benefits.
Second runner-up (tie): Credential portability across organizations
Next up, we had a demo from Jonathan Telfer showing how NHS-issued employment credentials can be used across organizations, eliminating the burden of identity re-verification.
This solution allows doctors and other staff to hold credentials in a digital wallet app and share with new employers or organizations within the NHS, or even to use to log into national applications.
The solution was built on Evernym’s Connect.Me and Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge, with Verity under the skin.
Second runner-up (tie): Verified digital prescriptions
Tying for third place, we had Emlyn Jones on the Medentials team demonstrate how doctors can issue prescriptions as verifiable credentials, which patients can then manage from their smart phones and share with their pharmacies.
A major benefit outlined in the presentation was the ability for patients to be able to maintain and share a controlled list of prescribed medications. The solution was built with Verity and Connect.Me, and can be found on GitHub.
Third runner-up: Staff onboarding and shift applications
Missing what would be a three-way tie for third place by a single vote comes our next solution: a credential-driven staff onboarding solution by the Sitekit team.
In this demo, doctors at a participating collaborative bank (shared staffing facility within the NHS) can receive an employment credential from Blackpool Teaching Hospital, which they can then use to apply for available shifts at nearby hospitals to show a verified record of their qualifications and work eligibility. Once accepted for a shift, the bank then issues the doctor with a shift assignment credential and (when combined with the winning hackathon entry) auto-provisioned staff access rights.
The solution uses Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge and Evernym’s Verity and Connect.Me.
As always, we conducted a brief feedback survey, the results of which can be seen here but for a real feel for the day, we find a quick one-word poll is a nice way to end these events:
We are always seeking to stay abreast of what our community members would like to see at future hackathons and to that end, we asked the following question ‘What theme(s) would you like our next INTEROPen Hackathon to focus on?
The unedited list of answers to this question can be found here. Though there are many suggestions, these support our decision to host a Care Plans hackathon before the end of the year. Please keep an eye on our Events page for tickets.