Estonian Headache Society, Connected Health Cluster and Novartis present

Migraine Innovation Challenge and Hack

30 November – 2 December 2018

Tallinn, Estonia
@SEB Innovation Centre

Illustration: Andrew Bannecker

Why migraine?

Migraine is more than a headache. During a migraine attack, people remain practically unable to live their lives, they can not fulfil their duties and spend quality time with their loved ones.

From the healthcare perspective, migraine is the most common and most costly neurological disorder. It impacts one in four women and one in ten men in Estonia. The majority of sufferers do not seek care for their pain and their migraine remains under-diagnosed and undertreated.

For the societies, migraine is one of the most disabling diseases. Most commonly it affects young working-age adults and women of childbearing age, whose quality of life is seriously affected by the illness. People with chronic migraine live with pain more than half of every month. 


The Migraine Innovation Challenge aims to find digital health solutions to support people living with migraine and their care teams.

The competition is an initiative of the Estonian Headache Society, organized by the Estonian health technology cluster Connected Health managed by Tehnopol and supported by Novartis.

We would like to invite developers, entrepreneurs, startups, designers, and other professionals to take part in the competition. Students and researchers are also welcome. Come and put yourself to the test by solving real problems in healthcare!

We also encourage subject matter experts to come along: people living with migraines and healthcare practitioners. We want the solutions to be developed not only for you but together with you!

You can join the competition in two ways:

– by submitting your idea for a solution (and a team), or

– by just registering to the hackathon  and then joining one of the teams, acting as a mentor or just observing.

The deadline for registration for both options is 27th of November.

We welcome participants both from Estonia and from other countries; solutions innovative in Estonia’s context as well as revolutionary in the bigger picture; excellent ideas as well as already existing solutions looking for testing or adoption opportunities in the migraine area or in the Estonian market.

The competition culminates with a hackathon held from the 30November to 2 December in Tallinn. The hackathon is a side-event of the international migraine conference organised by the Estonian Headache Society in collaboration with the European Headache Federation, held on 30 November.

As a result of the competition we expect that 2-3 perspective solutions will emerge, worthy to invest by the organizers and deploy in Estonia and beyond.


– 5000 EUR development grant and opportunity to co-operate with Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

– 5000 EUR worth of expertise in the next 6 months by the Tehnopol Startup Incubator.

– Premium-level membership for the next 12 months by the Connected Health Cluster, the leading platform in Estonia for co-creation of digital health solutions.

– 4 tickets worth of 99 EUR each to Latitude59 – the e-Estonia’s flagship startup & tech conference being held in May 16-17, 2019


The current patient journey was analysed in a service design workshop, in which experts and people living with migraines took part. Three challenges were revealed from the various problems and needs, and with the competition we will be looking for innovative digital solutions to these.

Challenge 1: How can we make migraines easier to recognize and more efficient to diagnose?


The first thing that benefits migraine patients is a timely and correct diagnosis. Today, many patients suffering from a severe headache do not make it beyond the pharmacy and rely on non-prescription painkillers.Reaching out a general practitioner (GP), prescriptions medicines are prescribed, but rather often GP fails to diagnose migraine because there are many different types of headaches. In more serious cases, the GP will consult a neurologist and refer the patient to get a diagnosis. Yet not all neurologists are specialised in headaches and there is a risk of misdiagnosis. There is a shortage of neurologists focusing on migraine and their waiting lists are long.


We foresee a solution where by using a diagnostic questionnaire based on smart algorithm and decision-making support, general practitioners, headache nurses and general neurologists would also be capable of diagnosing a migraine and this would help reduce the workload on headache neurologists. The most basic version of the tool could help pharmacists, but also the patient themselves in self-assessment.

Challenge 2: How can we help migraine patient to understand and self-manage their condition better?


Migraine patients are often unaware that intense headaches caused by a migraine are a serious condition that a person must contend with for their entire life. By becoming aware about their illness early on, a patient can make a number of changes to their lifestyle and prevent and relieve migraine attacks. Over the course of many years, patients can come to know themselves better and learn how to manage their condition better. However, this learning process could be shortened significantly and quality of life for very many people could be improved.

Alongside monitoring patient condition and writing prescriptions, healthcare professionals (general practitioners, neurologists, headache nurses) aren’t always able to conduct a thorough discussion with everyone or offer them motivation and support. There are currently no trustworthy Estonian or Russian language sources to refer to get information on the nature of migraines, the different forms of the illness, and preventive and symptom-relieving measures.

Raising awareness of the nature of the illness and means of prevention, new therapies and the effects thereof are important for improving the migraine patient’s quality of life and that of people who are directly impacted when the migraine sufferer is incapacitated by a severe migraine attack – those close to the patient, family, employer, co-workers etc. Awareness of and the ability to prevent and cope with migraine attacks, including access to the necessary medications, helps prevent and reduce the load on emergency rooms and first responders.


We are seeking a solution that will help healthcare professionals deal with patient’s education for migraine in a time-saving manner. We would like migraine patients to be able to easily obtain the information they need and for that information to be as personalised, appealing and understandable for them as possible.

Challenge 3: How can we make tracking migraines easier for both the patient and doctor?


In migraines care, a headache diary plays a central role and patients are asked to fill it in regularly by healthcare professionals. On the basis of the information in the diary, doctors can make a diagnosis and decide about treatment. Keeping a diary allows the patient to understand the nature of their illness, the triggers for headaches and the effectiveness of their treatment.

The headache diary currently in use in healthcare is in paper form. The patient records the days with headache, the intensity of the pain, the medications used and the effect of the medications. The problem is that, in most cases, patients do not see the keeping a diary as beneficial to them and thus it remains episodic or is not kept at all. Patients who have used with digital solutions in their everyday lives tend to forget about the diary, however – it is considered an inconvenience or they fail to keep up and only fill it in after the fact while waiting to be called in by the doctor. Because of this, the data about longer-term headache history never takes shape and the patient themselves and the doctors lack the means for making more competent decisions.

From the healthcare professional’s perspective, if the diary exists on paper, they can only examine the information during the appointment, and thus spend valuable minutes on it. This is time better spent talking to the patient. The healthcare professional must also manually enter the summary into the digital case history, and this, too, takes time.

In addition to the headache diary, the headache nurse usually recommends keeping a diet diary, also on paper.

Patients have tried out different mobile applications to track their migraines at their own initiative. This, too, is cumbersome as the app data cannot be shared directly with healthcare professionals. The data have to be copied out or printed on paper for the doctor. But often people forget the app when there is a longer interval between attacks. Doctors in Estonia do not “prescribe” any apps for patients as there is a lack of local language support and they lack knowledge about English-language apps in the market and trustworthy to recommend.


We are seeking an efficient, easy-to use and safe mobile application that allows both the patient and the healthcare professional to make smarter decisions.


Friday, 30 November

  • 17:30 Registration, Snacks & Drinks
  • 18:00 Welcome and Inspiration
  • 19:00 Ideas’ Pitch
  • 20:00 Team Formation
  • 21:00 Hacking Begins!
  • 00:00 Doors Close

Saturday, 1 December

  • 8:30 Doors Open & Breakfast
  • 9:00 More Hacking
  • 10:00 Checkpoint #1
  • 10:30 Mentors Go Around
  • 13:00 Lunch
  • 13:45 More Hacking
  • 16:00 Break
  • 16:30 More Hacking
  • 18:00 Checkpoint #2
  • 18:30 Mentors Go Around
  • 20:00 Dinner
  • 00:00 Doors Close

Sunday, 2 December

  • 8:30 Doors Open & Breakfast
  • 9:00 More Hacking
  • 10:00 Checkpoint #3: Pitch Training
  • 10:30 Prep Your Pitch
  • 12:00 Pitching to Jury, Snacks & Drinks
  • 13:30 Keynote
  • 14:00 Announcement of Winners, Taking Photos & Celebration
  • 16:00 Wrap Up


SEB Innovation Centre, Tornimäe 2, IV korrus, Tallinn


Riina Sikkut

Minister of Health and Labour @Estonia

Mark Braschinsky

MD, PhD, Neurologist @Headache Clinic of Tartu University Hospital, Head of Estonian Headache Society, Board Member @European Headache Federation and @International Headache Society

Alexandra Kubara

WorldWide Head of Digital Solutions in Neuroscience @Novartis Pharma AG Headquarters in Basel

Uwe Reuter

Uwe Reuter

MD, Prof, Neurologist @Berlin's Charité University Hospital, Board Member @European Headache Federation, Advisor @startup M-sense

Erki Mölder

Healthtech Investor and Mentor for Startups, Member of Board @Unimed Group and @Qvalitas Medical Centre, Chairman of Board @Enterprise Estonia

Tõnis Jaagus

Head of Health Division @Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre, developing national health information system, patient portal and digital health services

Katrina Laks

Katrina Laks

PhD student @TalTech, living with chronic migraine for more than 10 years

Anneli Virks

MD, Family Physician @Jürgensoni Perearstikeskus, working with people suffering migraine, living with chronic migraine

Kristi Tamela

Kristi Tamela

Headache Nurse @ Headache Clinic of Tartu University Hospital

Maarja Mõtus

Service Designer & Head of Product Design Department @Estonian Academy of Arts

Kadri Lauk

Head of Business Unit @Novartis Estonia, responsible for neurology and migraine products, more than 10 years of marketing and sales experience in pharmaceutical industryacross Baltics, pharmacist

Helen Kokk

Helen Kokk

User Experience and Service Design Lead @Nortal, Mentor @startups like Plumbr, Skype, etc

Veiko Raime

Founder and CEO @Mobi Lab, angel investor and startup mentor passionate in service and UX design

Katrin Gross-Paju

MD, Neurologist and Director of Neurology Clinic @West Tallinn Central Hospital, Associate Professor @TalTech Department of Health Technologies

Harald Lepisk

Harald Lepisk

Professional inspirator, who moves people with words. Works with numerous startup programmes including the European Innovation Academy.


Kitty Kubo

Connected Health cluster

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