An Extended Hackathon Model for Collaborative Education in Medical Innovation

J Med Syst. 2018 Oct 17;42(12):239. doi: 10.1007/s10916-018-1098-z.

Abstract

To support the next generation of healthcare innovators - whether they be engineers, designers, clinicians, or business experts by training - education in the emerging field of medical innovation should be made easily and widely accessible to undergraduate students, graduate students, and young professionals, early in their careers. Currently, medical innovation curricula are taught through semester-long courses or year-long fellowships at a handful of universities, reaching only a limited demographic of participants. This study describes the structure and preliminary outcomes of a 1-2 week "extended hackathon" course that seeks to make medical innovation education and training more accessible and easily adoptable for academic medical centers. Eight extended hackathons were hosted in five international locations reaching 245 participants: Beijing (June 2015 and August 2016), Hong Kong (June 2016, 2017, and 2018), Curitiba (July 2016), Stanford (October 2017), and São Paulo (May 2018). Pre- and post-hackathon surveys asking respondents to self-assess their knowledge in ten categories of medical innovation were administered to quantify the perceived degree of learning. Participants hailed from a diverse range of educational backgrounds, domains of expertise, and academic institutions. On average, respondents (n = 161) saw a greater than twofold increase (114.1%, P < 0.001) from their pre- to post-hackathon scores. In this study, the extended hackathon is presented as a novel educational model to teach undergraduate and graduate students a foundational skillset for medical innovation. Participants reported gaining significant knowledge across all ten categories assessed. To more robustly assess the educational value of extended hackathons, a standardized assessment for medical innovation knowledge needs to be developed, and a larger sample size of participants surveyed.

Keywords: Biodesign; Hackathon; Medical education; Medical innovation; Medical technology.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Biomedical Technology / instrumentation*
  • Biomedical Technology / methods*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Inventions*
  • Learning
  • Professional Competence
  • Research / education*