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An Extended Hackathon Model for Collaborative Education in Medical Innovation

A Correction to this article was published on 10 December 2018

This article has been updated


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.

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  • 10 December 2018

    We append two additional funders to our acknowledgments.


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The authors would like to thank all participants of the eight extended hackathons for helpful discussions and feedback.


The authors received funding from the Stanford Center at Peking University (grant to Chang) and Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute to support the Beijing 2015 and 2016 courses. The authors also received funding from Tong Tai Zhong Yi for the Beijing 2016 course; Associated Medical Supplies Co Ltd., Defond, metos, Vincent Medical, SGS Hong Kong Limited, Terraillon, and MediConcepts for the Hong Kong 2016 course; Braile Biomedica, Phillips, Johnson & Johnson, and Hospital Marcelino Champagnat for the Curitiba 2016 course; Associated Medical Supplies Co Ltd., Defond, MediConcepts, metos, Vincent Medical, Terraillon, and SGS Hong Kong for the Hong Kong 2017 course; Boston Scientific Asia-Pacific for the Stanford 2017 course; the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein for the São Paulo 2018 course; and Dr. Zue Lo Shui-Shan and Persona Surgical Modelling Co. Ltd. for the Hong Kong 2018 course.

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Authors and Affiliations



RTC, RDP, and RC developed the extended hackathon curriculum and framework, collaboratively hosted the eight extended hackathons, and administered the pre- and post-course assessments. JKW participated in the hackathon, wrote the manuscript, and interpreted results. All authors contributed to the review and approval of the manuscript prior to submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert T. Chang.

Ethics declarations

The survey was deemed to be a quality assurance tool. Results were collected in an anonymized fashion and were deemed to constitute minimal risk to participants. The study received a “not humans subjects” determination and was thus exempt from review per the Stanford Institutional Review Board.

Competing Interests

None declared.

Ethical Approval

As a quality improvement/program evaluation study, the protocol was considered exempt from review by the Stanford School of Medicine institutional review board.



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Wang, J.K., Pamnani, R.D., Capasso, R. et al. An Extended Hackathon Model for Collaborative Education in Medical Innovation. J Med Syst 42, 239 (2018).

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  • Medical technology
  • Medical innovation
  • Medical education
  • Biodesign
  • Hackathon