Patients hack medical research in planned attack

Hacking in this context is what we call ‘bringing people with different views and skills together to work on problems.’

[Sorry to disappoint the headline chasers but I hope you’ll stay with me]

And ‘hackathons’ – events where such hacking activity can take place – are increasingly common across the health arena as a means of solving problems.

In fact Cancer Research UK did a very successful one recently to design a mobile phone game which would help them analyse gene data.

Well, those extremely creative and clever people at the University of Manchester Centre for Primary Care, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) , the NIHR School for Primary Care Research, NOWGEN and others, are applying the principle to health research.


Members of the public are being invited to pitch ideas to a mixed audience of the public and researchers who will then work on turning them into possible research projects.

In the afternoon they will also be turning their minds to patient and public involvement and some of their thoughts will no doubt find their back to the NIHR Strategic Review of Public Involvement: ‘Breaking Boundaries’ announced last week.  Did I tell you about that?

The bad news is that the ‘Patient Hack Day’ on 30th April is already full up!

The good news is that this is as simple as it gets as an idea and could easily be adopted and adapted around the country.  How about doing one for the ‘Ok to ask’ campaign about clinical research which is running again this year on 20th May?

I had another thought as well.

We now have an excellent methodology in the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) for identifying national condition-specific priorities – or rather priorities as defined by patients and clinicians.  But as health research becomes more local in its organisation there seems value in thinking of ways and means to enable priority-setting at a local level as well.  Both in formal and informal ways.  And this ‘Patient Hack Day’ has much to commend it.

Have a good weekend.


3 thoughts on “Patients hack medical research in planned attack

  1. Pingback: Patients hack medical research in planned attack | Richard Kastelein

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