Investigating participant perceptions of hackathons in integrated Knowledge Translation (iKT) research

Authors: Francesca S Cardwell*, University of Waterloo, Susan J Elliott, University of Waterloo, Ann E Clarke, University of Calgary
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Integrated Knowledge Translation, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Hackathons
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 20
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Despite a growing movement toward a knowledge-user driven research process, our understanding of the generation, implementation and evaluation of specific approaches in the iKT toolbox that aim to engage health and healthcare knowledge-users is limited. Health hackathons offer one possible approach with potential to generate direct and indirect innovative health-related outcomes that benefit participants, knowledge-users and the broader population. In May 2019, our research team hosted the Waterlupus health hackathon to improve the economic lives of individuals with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in Canada. Waterlupus was held with a multi-stakeholder group of fifty participants, that included advocacy organization representatives, policy makers, researchers, physicians, individuals with lived experience and students. While the hackathon generated viable solutions with the potential to positively impact the lives of individuals with SLE, understanding how participants perceived the hackathon as an iKT tool is critical in the planning and implementation of future iKT research. This paper presents the results of semi-structured in-depth interviews with Waterlupus participants (n=13) that were conducted to: 1) explore participant experiences of the hackathon; 2) investigate participant-identified hackathon outcomes; and, 3) understand participant recommendations for future iKT research. Participants provided feedback on the format and organization of Waterlupus, and identified a range of direct and indirect outcomes to knowledge-users, students and researchers beyond the innovations generated at the event. This study contributes to a limited literature regarding the use of health hackathons for social innovation, and offers knowledge-user suggestions relevant to the implementation of future iKT events, and hackathons specifically.

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