Review: Coding for Doctors 101 Workshop

Posted by Sakira Thangavel on December 31, 2016

On the 26th November 2016, Medic Footprints collaborated with We Got Coders and Health Foundry to create a 1-day Coding For Doctors 101 Workshop.
The workshop took place at the Health Foundry, a lovely venue opposite St Thomas’ Hospital in Waterloo, which prides itself as being a collaborative workspace for people using digital technologies to improve health and wellbeing. Airy, colourful and brightly lit, there were no stereotypes of programmers being locked away in a room with no windows with the only source of light coming from their laptops. Hooray!

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The day started at 9.30am with registration and an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals over tea and coffee. It was amazing to see that many people with a medical background and interest in coding all in one space! Attendees included an anaesthetist, GPs, medical students and other professionals working in the NHS.

 

At 10am, Abeyna, the Director of Medic Footprints, Dan, the Founder of We Got Coders and Amy, the Host of Health Foundry welcomed everybody and gave their introductions explaining why the workshop was being run, the plan of the day and most importantly to enjoy ourselves!

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At around 10.30, Dan took us through some basic principles of HTML, CSS and JavaScript to help become familiar with the languages. The pace was easy going and we were encouraged to experiment away. If there was any trouble, Dan’s team, consisting of recent We Got Coders graduates; Francis and Dave, were on hand to help us out. I think most of us were okay with HTML and CSS but JavaScript proved to be a little trickier to understand!

img_06411After this, we were told we would be building an app. We were given three options:
1. A referral form where you input details and it generates a letter.
2. A positive reinforcement app based on Happify.
3. A Body Atlas app where the user had to answer a series of questions about their symptoms and it would generate medical advice.

 

We naturally split into three groups and picked our chosen apps. I picked the positive reinforcement app as I am a big believer in wellbeing and because I have always had abstract ideas of using technology for wellbeing. This was now my chance to see what was required! But before we started building our apps as a team, we had lunch.
During lunch, my team and I introduced ourselves to each other. I had two other medical students and four doctors, the majority being GPs.

After lunch, we cracked on with our coding. Within my team, we divided ourselves into 3 smaller teams so that we ended up as two pairs and a trio. The initial aspect of creating how the app looked and what content it has, using HTML and CSS, straight forward. But, as soon as we wanted to make things interactive, for example, creating a scoreboard that would add points when the user clicked on positive words but add nothing when they clicked negative words, the coding became confusing.

However, each group was given their very own tech nerd and my team bombarded Dan with plenty of questions. We were not handed answers but given guidance to help us work it out. After lots of trial and error, we ended up with our app.

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At around 4.15pm, all 3 app teams got back together for a Show & Tell. Each team showed how the app worked and gave insights to what aspects were challenging. It was actually amazing to see three apps that actually worked. And by worked, I mean were interactive and not just a pretty thing to look at. All this in one afternoon!

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This clearly was a cause for celebration and we ended of the day at the local pub for a much needed drink!

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I have to say I had some previous coding experience but this was an excellent refresher and I learned so much that day. I also loved the opportunity to code in a team which can be hard to find when you’re at medical school and unsure of who is interested in coding.

I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone who wants that opportunity to come to the next workshop for which details can be found in our upcoming events here.

Hope to see you there! This is an event you do not want to miss out on!


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