Hackers aim to take the stress out of medical student rotations

These Elsevier Hacks winners are building an app that turns data into advice about the student’s hospital assignment

Foresight team at Elsevier Hacks
The Foresight team at the Elsevier Hacks event in Helsinki (Photo courtesy of BeMyApp)

Life as a medical student is exceptionally stressful. Some of that stress comes from the process of rotation, as students divide their time between study and clinical work in a teaching hospital. The Foresight app, currently in development, aims to alleviate stress by providing evidence-based advice tailored to the student’s hospital. Foresight pulls from various data sources – published papers, hospital data, crowdsourced information – to give students a heads-up on what they’ll experience at their particular teaching hospital.

Foresight is part of a global incubation program run by Elsevier that builds on the Elsevier Hacks 2017 event in Helsinki. The original event paired medical students with technologists and tasked them to solve some of the biggest challenges in medical education.

Emerging from that event, the team behind Foresight is one of three working together across the globe. Over a 12-week period, they will be coached by experts from Elsevier and other businesses in design, development, communication and business, taking the ideas and prototypes created at the hackathon and building them into fully matured business plans and MVPs (minimum viable products), ready to release in the market.

This week, teams are being flown to the UK to present their prototypes to a global panel of Elsevier senior managers. One team will be awarded an additional $10,000 from Elsevier to continue to develop their prototype and grow their startup.

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What is Foresight?

Foresight is an app that prepares medical students for clinical learning by providing evidence-based advice tailored to the student’s hospital. In a recent pivot, the team decided to move away from incorporating chatbot technology and instead utilize a simple user interface that will allow medical students to navigate a menu of relevant information sourced from published papers, hospital data and crowdsourced information from fellow students.

What the mentors say

David Game, Education eProduct Director at Elsevier, explained what he saw as its strengths:

“One of the key pieces of advice I give to any team setting out on a project like this is to have a very specific problem that you’re solving, to have a specific segment in mind and a specific persona. The team behind Foresight have identified that prior to rotation, medical students don’t know what to expect and they don’t know what’s going to be covered. So they’ve taken a kind of aggregation strategy, finding buried data about different rotations. They’re combining it with a social aspect, as people share their experience of rotations at those specific hospitals, and also bringing in a remediation element as they bring in medical content that will help students prepare.

“Their challenge will be aggregating those pieces into a single environment. It’s ambitious in some ways, but we’ve seen before that this kind of shared experience could be very powerful for medical students.”

What the hackers say

Foresight team at the hackathon (Photo courtesy of BeMyApp)

Mao Fong Lim, a medical student at Kings College London and CEO of Foresight, explained in his of his updates on the Elsevier Hacks site:

“We've had some collaborative thinking about Foresight with David, our Elsevier mentor, about what our secret ingredient will be. Early in the process we looked for opportunities to engage with our target audience, to gather feedback on this project. Some of our attempts were very successful and we used that to steer our thinking and the UX design. We're making progress with our data and trying to make it work for Foresight. So far, our prototype still looks very much like what we intended it to be when we started.”

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Written by

Ian Evans

Written by

Ian Evans

Ian Evans is Content Director for Global Communications at Elsevier. Previously, he was Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Global Communications Newsroom. Based in Oxford, he joined Elsevier six years ago from a small trade publisher specializing in popular science and literary fiction.


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