Roche Malaysia brings staff together to 'Reimagine Healthcare' in recent Hackathon

January 26, 2021

Roche (Malaysia) pharmaceutical division recently organised its first Hackathon, which saw staff coming together during the CMCO to brainstorm realistic, innovative healthcare solutions for Malaysian cancer patients.

According to a media release, the three-day Hackathon was co-organised with MaGIC (The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre) under the theme of ‘Reimagine Healthcare’.

Employees from the Roche group in Malaysia, comprising the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and shared service centre, participated in the event and were guided by a trainer, mentors and validators, with the aim of finding ideas that can potentially deliver real and potential impact to Malaysia’s healthcare system and cancer patients.

Two 'ignition' sessions followed by three days of Hackathon

Prior to the three-day Hackathon event in November, two ‘ignition’ sessions were held for all Roche colleagues to join. These sessions saw external speakers from various industries sharing and discussing their innovation journey and how it had transformed their organisations to deliver a bigger and better impact within their industries.

On the first day of the Healthcare Hackathon, Roche staff were divided into 6 teams and introduced to the problem statement: "How best to enable cancer patients to receive the best treatment for their specific condition".

The second and third day saw the teams using design thinking to ideate and propose prototype solutions while investigating different methodologies for their concept.

At the end of the third day, the teams pitched their concepts to a panel of judges which included Lance Duan, the General Manager of Roche Malaysia. and several healthcare professionals.

Judging criteria: Commitment to innovation, digital utilisation, and more

During the judging process, the jury members were on a lookout for ideas that demonstrated a true commitment to innovation and digital utilisation that delivered real, measurable impact and a realistic adoption of their concept.

Based on the above criteria, two winners were announced - one in early childhood cancer education and the second an application on breast cancer. In the next few months, the winning teams will be provided with sponsors, mentors and sounding boards to make their ideas come to life.

Duan said: "As one of the judges, I was impressed with the 6 teams’ presentations, given the limited period to share innovative solutions for cancer patients. To me, all the ideas generated expressed a genuine desire to deliver meaningful change for Malaysian patients.

"By working together across different divisions, this enabled the OneRoche experience, which also helped the teams stay motivated as we deliver better outcomes to more patients faster. I thank the trainer, mentors and validators for their time and effort through-out, as well as my fellow judges for their hard work in reviewing the presentations with me”.

Dr. Benjamin Cheah, a Consultant Rheumatologist, who was one of the validators and judges, said: “I was privileged enough to witness an innovative event organised by Roche Malaysia. I am always inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of individuals. It was an honour to see the embrace of new ideas and the commitment to sustainable and positive innovation in healthcare.”

Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of MaGIC, said: "Through this Hackathon journey, I believe the participants benefited from the insights and guidance from the diverse stakeholders, as not only were they from the healthcare community, but also from the digital and technology arena."

Hackathons used to be hosted by technology organisations where programmers gather for a short period of time to collaborate on a project. However, in recent years, they have evolved to become more flexible and are now widely used in different industries, Duan observed.

He added: "I see the potential of Hackathons, in promoting out-of-the-box approaches to creating realistic solutions, and I look forward to more creative, disruptive ways, like our Healthcare Hackathon as this promotes innovation and radical collaboration in our bid to do more for Malaysian patients."