Brigham and Women’s Sparks New Software Solution Ideas with Hackathons

Participants use Epic’s APIs during a sprint-style programming event

Put clinicians, programmers, engineers, designers, and business professionals in a room together for a two-day hackathon, and they create ready-to-use hospital software applications. A hackathon is a software programming event during which teams collaborate intensely over a short period of time to create new software. For example, at a recent Brigham and Women’s hackathon, a team used resources to show physicians’ favorite lab protocols in Epic. With the tool, physicians can browse their colleagues’ protocols, subscribe to the ones they like, and rate them, helping other physicians choose the protocols that tend to be most useful.

Brigham and Women’s, located in Boston, believes the hackathons have been a very successful method of fostering collaboration across disciplines, inspiring a culture of innovation, and sparking new ideas. During a HIMSS 2017 presentation, they shared these hackathon survey results:

  • 80% of participants said the event helped them solve healthcare problems.
  • 77% found it valuable because they got to make new connections with clinicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
  • 74% said they planned to continue working on the project they started.
  • 50% had plans to pilot the program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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