Posted by: ayrshirehealth | April 6, 2016

Hack a what …! by @maidenturret

Health Hackathon

The first time I heard the word ‘Hackathon’ I have to admit that I rolled my eyes at the thought of yet another proposal for hard pressed frontline staff to be obliged to engage with.  Haka

I also had a vision of healthcare workers venting their ‘initiative fatigue’ using the traditional warrior dance to intimidate those who had the bright idea of a specific event to explore ideas to address the ‘wicked’ problem of unscheduled care.

However, I have been intrigued by the opportunity offered by this novel approach.

So what is a ‘hackathon’?

With its roots in computer programming, a hackathon provides an opportunity for people to come together to form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively create a unique solution from scratch. Hackathon

A famous example of an output from a hackathon includes the Facebook ‘Like’ button! (If you have seen the film ‘The Social Network’, you will have witnessed a small hackathon in action).

In recent times, Healthcare organisations in the USA have used this methodology to find creative solutions to wicked problems.

 The NHS Ayrshire and Arran Event

ScottishGovtNHSaaaSponsored by the Scottish Government, NHS Ayrshire & Arran are hosting a Healthcare Hackathon with a focus on the complex challenge of developing innovative solutions to the wicked problem of Unscheduled Care.

The ‘hackathon’ is taking place on the 29th and 30th April 2016 in the McLellan Galleries, Renfrew Street, Glasgow.

We know that that all unscheduled care services are creaking from the increasing rise in demand and the relentless pressures faced by health and social care staff.  Wicked problemThis can make it increasingly difficult for health and social care staff to carve out time to lift their heads; to reflect and explore sustainable solutions to the wicked problem of working with broken systems and processes.

This approach carves out time for stakeholders to pause, reflect and use their lived experiences to generate ideas and solutions.

The event will take a creative, fun and person centred approach – focusing on real peoples stories of seeking, receiving and delivering unplanned care and developing ideas for new approaches to improve people’s experience and outcomes. The event will be facilitated by Snook – an award winning service design agency who have considerable experience in running hackathons and supported by Glasgow School of Art.

Care Hackathon

Attendees are being sought from staff working in acute care, health and social care partnerships, partner organisations, patients and other services/industries where flow and quality are key to success. We have had more than a hundred expressions of interest to date. We are particularly interested to have more representation from patients, carers, acute nursing, community nursing and GP’s.

How can I get Involved?

If you are interested in being involved, please register your interest with Snook via their website .

Even if you can’t make the 29th and 30th April, we would encourage you to get involved.

We want to hear your experiences, reflections, ideas.

You can get in touch in a number of ways (Snook would be delighted to have a conversation with you), including:

What will happen after the hackathon?

The ideas will be developed with the teams into design briefs that will be presented at a post-hackathon event at the beginning of June. We hope that innovative ideas that do not involve technical development will be prototyped quickly and integrated into existing unscheduled care change programmes to contribute towards new models of care. Those requiring further technical development may be openly shared as design briefs for technical development.Carehackathon 2

We look forward to hearing from you and a big thanks to all who have shared their experience or expressed an interest to date.

‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek’

Barack Obama

This week’s blog was by @maidenturret (Andrew Moore), Interim Lead Nurse, South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership; Assistant Nurse Director, Quality Improvement and Governance, NHS Ayrshire & Arran


  1. A solution to providing world class unscheduled care is a prize worth searching for. Good luck and I look forwards to hearing what happens

  2. How innovative and exciting – will look forward to the outputs through Ayrshire Health Ann

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