Datagym is a course that educates staff across the board in healthcare to understand why data is important and how they can improve healthcare by making use of it. This is done through a collaborative, multidisciplinary, experiential learning approach in which learners are able to work on real-world projects and expand their horizons.

Melanie Glöckler
Deepu James
Distributing data skills in medicine
The future of healthcare will be technology-driven at its core and data is the ‘material’ that allows to push this transformation towards higher quality care at scale. Adapting to this change and the shifting skill requirements is therefore crucial. Datagym aims to bridge the skill gap between technology and healthcare and provides the workforce across the board in healthcare with the critical, technical, creative and human-centred skills to understand and work with data as part of their professional practice.
The potential of data and the lack of skills

Healthcare is a sector where data gets produced daily in the form of patient data, surveys, lab test results, wearables and more. This data can be used in care, e.g. to monitor patients remotely, diagnose diseases and facilitate internal clinical processes that allow more seamless and faster planning. This would include services like surgeries, or to better predict supply chain management. The potential of data is enormous, but its use is far from efficient! At the moment, many healthcare systems are collecting vast amounts of data. The challenge is that the healthcare workforce is not equipped to handle or make good use of it. And this lack of skills is not sufficiently covered by current existing education. All of this impedes a transformation that will be needed to provide quality care at scale in the future.

The needed skills

To enable the workforce across healthcare, meaning to enable clinicians, technologists and admin staff to improve and innovate, using data as building blocks, they need to be data literate and able to read, analyse and interpret data on a level that allows them to collaborate amongst professionals from different disciplines within healthcare and understand each others' professions on a foundational level. This and the ability to deal with ambiguity where there is no clear solution to a problem are essential skills. For this, Datagym aims to develop the needed critical, technical, creative and human-centred skills to understand and work with data as part of their professional practice.

The course

In the course of 3 months, participants will be led through the Datagym learning approach whilst still being able to pursue their jobs. The course is based on collaboration, multidisciplinarity, hands-on learning, and mentorship. Participants would start with an initial self- assessment that analyses in which areas they need to improve on, and will be given the chance to take a foundational preparatory course before jumping into the main project. They will then be put in multidisciplinary teams and follow the double diamond approach in facilitated workshops where they identify and define an existing problem from their work environment using design methods. A two day ideation session will get them started to think about first ideas and prototype quickly potential solutions. In the final 2 months they will be provided with online lectures and work more independently, supported by weekly mentoring and learning whilst testing, failing, iterating and refining their idea together in their teams.

Analogues - Decompose to reconstruct

Datagym evolved based on the approach of analysing existing learning providers, decomposing their learning components, extracting valuable bits and reconstructing these to form Datagym. This led to 4 major service components: 1) Skill self-assessment, which helps participants to identify the areas they’d need to improve and provides institutions an overview about the existing data literacy level in their teams.2) Learning aggregator, which provides accompanied course lectures as well as a foundational course to prepare the participants for collaborative learning, for example but teaching them foundational terminologies across different professions. 3) Real world project, which takes participants through a double diamond process where they learn to see the bigger picture and identify and shape the right problem to be solved.4) Mentorship, which guides the learning teams throughout the process.

How it works

To enter with a high level of credibility, Datagym would be best placed as a seed in an existing NHS institution to grow and expand from there. The service would start as a B2B model where it would be offered for hospitals, trusts, organisations within the healthcare system. To provide needed course material and resources, Datagym would hire and partner with external service providers to curate relevant course content from learning platforms. A main advantage for institutions, besides capacity building to improve healthcare, would be the purpose-driven learning approach as they would work on a problem existing within their work context. Doing this together with colleagues across disciplines allows them to lower barriers, strengthen their team relationships and train their mental muscles for a culture of improvement and innovation.

special thanks

Thanks to Neal Stone for guiding us as tutor through the project as well as all the people that supported us along the way with time, passion, different perspectives and additional input.

students involved on the project

No items found.