Healthcare-data expert session reflections

On 18 May, OpenDataLab Rotterdam hosted a successful healthcare-data expert session at the Wijkpaleis, a community centre in Delfshaven.

The aim of the session was to bring together different parties working on the various aspects of healthcare in Rotterdam, from the big institutions, such as the GGD Rijnmond, to citizen initiatives, such as the Groene Connectie and the Zorgvrijstaat. We embrace the co-creation power of bottom-up activists and top-down policy-makers, and this session proved the importance of their dialogue again. We explicitly wanted to combine people that are interested in healthcare data, and people that collect and publish healthcare data.


The session started with short presentations:

  • Open4Citizens Rotterdam: Introduction of the Open4Citizens project by the OpenDataLab Rotterdam, and the Rotterdam pilot focused on the self-management of public parks.
  • Natuur of recept: a project by the Groene Connectie, where GPs can recommend visiting public parks for their patients.
  • Healing Spaces: a research project by urbanist Inès Péborde, focused on prototyping sensory and therapeutic environments that would positively impact people’s physical and mental health.

Data workshop

The presentations were followed by a workshop to identify the different problem areas in the interest of the participants, and to further investigate later in two breakout groups. One of these groups addressed loneliness and elderly (a problem in Rotterdam) and assessing how neighborhood level interventions could leverage impact. The other group focused on mental health related questions, such as the connection between depression and how may the surroundings influence that. These topics were facilitated around available data. Using the Gezondheidatlas and the Waarstaatjegemeente , the groups explored factors potentially playing a role (such as social and emotional loneliness).

The Gezondheidatlas is an invaluable tool to better understand public health data of the Netherlands, however it is also a daunting tool at first use to navigate through the complexities of the dataset. By having an expert from GGD in the room, all of us learned tips and tricks to immerse in the public health data for further explorations.


Three hours is not sufficient time to change the world, but it’s a good start. The healthcare-interested officials and citizens in the room were enthusiastic to meet others as passionate about healthcare as themselves, and new connections were formed. OpenDataLab Rotterdam is organizing another hackathon in the autumn of 2017 on self-managed parks and healthcare. Continue there?