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What are the new findings?
Healthcare hackathons are celebrated for bringing cross-disciplinary teams together to do innovative work, but the typical multiday schedule is a barrier to entry for many clinician trainees.
An abbreviated version of the traditional hackathon, which we term a ‘microhack’, may be an effective way to include clinician trainees in innovation training.
We hosted two microhacks over 2 years and at least half of our 98 participants were clinicians, demonstrating interest in these types of collaborative, problem-solving events.
How might it impact on healthcare in the future?
We share our experiences and lessons learnt in an event toolkit, in the hope that our work can be replicated and improved on at other institutions.
As healthcare becomes increasingly complex, team oriented and practised beyond the traditional bounds of hospitals and clinics, doctors need explicit training in and exposure to innovation.1 We describe training in innovation as the skills needed to turn insights gained from the practice of medicine into creative action in order to move the field of healthcare forward. These skills are broad and diverse, from clinical informatics2 to design thinking,3 making them difficult to teach in a typical classroom setting. Healthcare hackathons provide an opportunity to introduce these skills in a problem-based, cross-disciplinary format.4 Modelled after events from the technology sector, healthcare hackathons bring individuals from different backgrounds together to tackle healthcare-specific challenges over a short amount of time. Similarly, a healthcare datathon brings data scientists, statisticians, engineers and clinicians together to analyse a dataset and investigate data-driven solutions to common clinical problems.5 These types of events have been celebrated for their ability to create diverse teams and involve learners in the earlier stages of problem solving and innovation.6 Studies have shown that hackathons also enhance the knowledge and skills associated with being an effective team player and leader.7 Despite the tremendous potential …
Contributors All authors designed the study. MA, ERD, BDL and ML collected and analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. They contributed equally to this paper and are considered cofirst authors. LAC and BKP reviewed the data and manuscript and gave final approval.
Funding Funding for event supplies (posters, Post-It notes, pens) and refreshments provided by the Beth Israel Deaconess Department of Medicine, the Beth Israel Deaconess Graduate Medical Education Office and the MIT Biotechnology Group. Cloud storage space provided by Google Cloud for the microdatathon. LAC is funded by the National Institute of Health through NIBIB R01 EB017205.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval Participants consented to the collection and deidentified reporting of their professional affiliation and role, and aggregated event feedback. The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre Committee on Clinical Investigations determined our protocol involving human subjects to meet criteria for exempt status (IRB Protocol #: 2020P000825, 8/18/20). Our IRB approved the protocol with a waiver of informed consent.
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