Proposing Medathonsby Lukas Zinnagl on Apr 7, 2011 • 10:47 am
Since it seems we are rather into the topic of software development, we wanted to pick up a bullet point from our last post – 10 things doctors can learn from programmers, we wanted to focus on a particular bullet point in our last post – medathons.
A couple of people asked what we mean by a “med-a-thon” and although we’ve referenced the term to the wikipedia listing of “hackathon”, we felt that it’s still not really clear what we meant by that. So we wanted to dig deeper and give a thourough explanation of what we mean by medathon. Before that, we need to clarify what we mean by “hackathon”:
A hackathon, a hacker neologism, is an event when programmers meet to do collaborative computer programming. These events are typically between several days and a week in length. A hackathon refers not simply to one time hacks, but to a specific time when many people come together to hack on what they want to, how they want to – with little to no restrictions on direction or goal of the programming.
So, our idea was to take this and translate it into medicine and healthcare. We do have balint groups, then why not have medathons? A hackathon, like any other organized and structure meetup, follows certain rules, although it might look vague and unorganized to any external person. But people attending a hackathon follow a goal. The goal to accomplish something, to deliver a product and to quickly iterate on topics that come up all of a sudden.
Now imagine such a framework in your clinical environment and medicine in general. A monthly meetup where people from all walks in medicine meet to find solutions for problems and who are actively discussing, studying literature, engaging and exchanging on medical topics. This could range from the experience with a certain medical drug to a more efficient positioning of the chairs in the waiting room. It’s all about how to hack medicine, how to improove it by brainstorming solutions, discuss existing issues and iterate on well-known problems. It’s quick, dirty and most of all it should be a lot of fun.
This is supposed to be a quick overview on what’s on our mind right now. We’ll probably iterate the concept of a medathon and we actually should trademark it ;). The more you think about this concept, the more you’ll see how much potential and how widely-open its ramifications could be. That’s awesome and we’ll do our best to come up with a proper concept on how to organize your very first medathon in your office or clinic.