Medical students’ chatbot prototype wins Elsevier’s Global Digital Hackathon

Bringing together medical students around the world, Elsevier announces winners for first-ever Elsevier Hacks competition

HELSINKI, September 12, 2017

Elsevier, the information analytics business specializing in science and health, today announced the winners of its medical education hackathon. Twenty medical students from around the world participated in the two-day event in Helsinki, Finland, in late August.

Following an intense 48 hours of pitching, ideating, designing and developing innovative solutions for medical education, a team composed of students from Australia, The Netherlands and Spain won the competition, which brought the medical students together with experts in coding and design.

The winning team, calling itself “Patient X,” created a case-based solution that allows medical students to practice clinical reasoning and receive feedback with chatbot technology, enabling them to improve their diagnostic process at an early stage.

“The most enjoyable moment at the hackathon would definitely have to be on the last day, during the pitches to the judges. It was beautiful seeing the culmination of every group's hard work on display, and I was in sheer awe of the huge talent and creativity of my fellow students and developers,” said Alice Leung, a med student at Western Sydney University in Australia and a member of the winning “Patient X” team. “The brilliance of all our innovative solutions to the challenges of medical education was celebrated one after another and in that moment, I felt proud and honored to be making change happen, alongside this group of amazing individuals.”

A team of med students from Australia, Germany, Brazil and the UK placed second. They developed an interactive game they called “Dr.You,” which uses competitive gamification to hone students' clinical knowledge and decision-making skills by providing succinct real-life scenarios for students to complete.

Med students from USA and India took third place. Their team’s entry was a toolset enabling medical students to translate any medical content, from lecture presentations, to textbooks or even 3D models, into a dynamic flash card study resource.

Elsevier selected the finalists from more than 1,500 applicants from India, US, Australia, the UK, Venezuela, Jordan, The Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Finland, China, New Zealand and Spain to participate in the 48-hour event which took place before the Association of Medical Educators (AMEE) Conference in Helsinki at Think Company, a collaborative workspace and part of the entrepreneurship society of the University of Helsinki.

“The level of innovation demonstrated by the teams, not only in the leveraging of new technologies but also the inclusion of Elsevier content and technology tools such as ClinicalKey, within such a short time frame is astounding,” said Gerrit Bos, Executive Vice President, Health Solutions, Elsevier.

In response to the level of innovation and commitment shown by the teams during the event Elsevier has offered to continue working with the three winning teams, by providing them with access to expert mentorship and coaching in order to support the development of their newly created solutions.

“At Elsevier we are keen to partner with medical students and empower them to think beyond the current challenges they face in medical education,” said Jan Herzhoff, Managing Director, Education, Elsevier. “Technology enables us to transform the way medical educators teach and the way students learn, and events such as Elsevier Hacks provide great opportunities to foster creativity and innovation and arrive at tangible solutions.”

Industry and academic organisations, including GE Healthcare Innovation Village, supported the event and brought seven medical and healthcare start-ups to present and demo their solutions at the pre-event Innovation Showcase. This offered the students the chance to interact and learn from the local med tech entrepreneurs many of whom had started as ideas at events similar to Elsevier Hacks. Microsoft Azure  also partnered with students at the event, hosting a workshop and giving access to the Azure platform.

To find out more about the Elsevier Hacks events visit

Editors: To receive comments from your local med school students who participated, please contact

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

Christopher Capot
Global Communications, Elsevier
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