Article Text

Download PDFPDF
166 Healthathon: an interdisciplinary format applying co- design-methods to challenge shared decision making
  1. Anna Lisa Martin-Niedecken1,
  2. Annina Gähwiler1,
  3. Andrea Glässel2,3,
  4. Laurin Schaffner1,
  5. Nikola Biller-Andorno2
  1. 1Institute for Design Research, ZHdK Zurich University of the Arts, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. 2Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, UZH University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3Institute of Public Health, ZHAW University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland


Introduction Healthcare decisions require consideration of the values of all involved parties.1,2,3 Decision aids play a crucial role in eliciting and addressing individual preferences and values.4 Designing tailored decision aids necessitates interdisciplinary approaches and patient and public involvement (PPI) to ensure solutions align with real-world needs.5,6 The ongoing digital transformation of healthcare offers opportunities to address these challenges, but the inclusion of multiple stakeholders in the process must be guided effectively to prevent failure. Despite the importance of interdisciplinary approaches and PPI in Shared Decision Making (SDM), there is currently still no established best practice.5

Methods Using the example of SDM, we show how methods from design thinking and human-centered design can be used to connect people across disciplines, including academia and public. To illustrate this approach, we introduce the Healthathon7 format, an event combining thematical inputs with co- design workshops based on design thinking8,9 and human-centered design10.

Results In our first Healthathon, 32 participants from over 10 disciplines collaborated on two challenging SDM cases. Teams formed during the event submitted ideas for competitive funding from the DHD Living Lab11, with the best projects realized through specialist interdisciplinary mentoring.

Discussion The analysis of the Healthathon reveals potential advantages, such as generating tangible results within a short time, but also challenges like navigating the depth of thematic inputs and managing the expectations of the heterogenous group of participants.

Conclusion The Healthathon emerges as a valuable format for tackling challenges in SDM, emphasizing the role of interdisciplinary co-design.

Abstract 165 Figure 1

The DHD Living Lab’s Healthathon event combines thematical inputs with interactive co-design workshop sessions


  1. Aoki Y, Furuno T, Watanabe K, Kayama M. Psychiatric outpatients’ experiences with shared decision- making: a qualitative descriptive study. J. Healthc. Commun. 2019;12(2):102–11. [DOI: 10.1080/17538068.2019.1612212].

  2. Goscha R, Rapp C. Exploring the experiences of client involvement in medication decisions using a shared decision making model: results of a qualitative study. Community Ment. Health J. 2015;51(3):267–74. [DOI: 10.1007/s10597-014-9759-y].

  3. Montori VM, Kunneman M, Brito JP. Shared decision making and improving health care: the answer is not in. JAMA 2017;318(7):617–8. [DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.10168].

  4. Cheetham M, Holzer B, Kleber M, Biller-Andorno N, Meier CA. Patienten-Entscheidungshilfen zur Werteklärung und Präferenzerhebung - Herausforderungen und Entwicklungen. Ther Umsch. 2022;79(8):415–424. [DOI: 10.1024/0040-5930/a001383].

  5. Selby K, Durand M, Von Plessen C, Auer R, Biller-Andorno N, Krones T, Agoritsas T, Cornuz J. Shared decision-making and patient and public involvement: Can they become standard in Switzerland? ZEFQ. 2022;171:135–138. [DOI: 10.1016/j.zefq.2022.04.019].

  6. Göcking B, Gloeckler S, Ferrario A, Brandi G, Glässel A, Biller-Andorno N. A case for preference-sensitive decision timelines to aid shared decision-making in intensive care: need and possible application. Front. Digit. Health. 2023;5:1274717. [DOI: 10.3389/fdgth.2023.1274717]. Brown. T. Design thinking. Harvard Bus. Rev. 2008

  7. Healthathon. 2023, accessed 19 december 2023, <>

  8. Brown T. Design thinking. Harvard Bus. Rev. 2008.

  9. Plattner H, Meinel C, Leifer L. (Eds.). Design thinking research. Berlin: Springer. 2012.

  10. Göttgens I, Oertelt-Prigione S. The application of human-centered design approaches in health research and innovation: a narrative review of current practices. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2021;9(12):e28102. [DOI: 10.2196/28102]

  11. DHD Living Lab. 2023, accessed 19 december 2023, <>

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.