Biodesign Course Leads to Medical Device Innovation |
Educators at the Renaissance School of Medicine (RSOM) at Stony Brook University have highlighted the success of their three-year elective course in Biodesign which has allowed students to expand their abilities as innovators to create potential medical devices for the future. In an article by Academic medicinea leading journal in medical education, the authors describe the program and approach, which can serve as a model for advancing medical education in the area of collaborative work using technology to design new medical devices.
As society evolves in the world of 21st century technology, physicians will play an increasing role as clinician-innovators. Yet few medical degree programs offer students the opportunity to learn the conceptual framework of clinical needs and medical device prototyping and what it entails, including intellectual property management.
Senior author Lauren M. Maloney, MD, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and colleagues point out that such programs are necessary for medical education at the undergraduate level. . A 2016 survey of 158 allopathic medical schools in the United States found that there were only 13 such programs supporting medical device innovation learning.
From 2017 to 2021, the RSOM program enrolled five cohorts totaling 37 medical students. The first full cohort of 12 incoming students produced eight biomedical engineering projects.
One such project involved developing a shield that attaches to a syringe to reduce needlestick injuries when injecting drugs, such as a vaccination. This team then filed for a provisional patent, presented at the 47th Annual Northeast Biodesign Conference, and was recently awarded first place in the Stony Brook University Small Business Development Center Entrepreneur Challenge in 2022. Two of the Undergraduate team members are now graduate students in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Another project involved a team of students who created an adapter for a tool used in neurosurgery to reduce stress on tissue; this team won Stony Brook University’s WolfieTank competition in 2019 and subsequently filed a provisional patent. Two of the team members who were at the time undergraduate students in biomedical engineering have now joined the RSOM, entering in the fall of 2021.
“Students who reflected on the course reported a change in attitude toward existing medical problems, felt better equipped to collaboratively design solutions to clinical needs, and considered a potential career path in medical device design. devices,” Dr. Maloney said.
She and her co-authors also point out that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of training future physicians in medical device innovation, as the limited availability of life support and protective equipment at the start of the pandemic prompted many people to develop temporary solutions – a scenario that underscores the need for skills needed to develop medical device innovation.
The RSOM program is novel in that it lasts three years during a medical student’s college education and involves interdisciplinary work in areas such as biomedical engineering, computer engineering, and multiple clinical areas. Students work collaboratively in the four-step biodesign process: seminars and small group work; sharing of clinical experiences and assessment of needs and findings; concept generation and product development; and reflection and mentorship around the innovation created.
The authors say the elective course provides medical students and clinical faculty with a creative outlet that “embraces interdisciplinary collaboration and develops a common language of medical device innovation.”
In the future, they hope to create a space within the RSOM and the hospital to provide readily available rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printers, electronic stations and sewing machines, as well as a dedicated space for students and teachers to develop their device innovations.