Newswise — A group of aspiring health-care leaders are gaining first-hand knowledge about the complexities of issues affecting medical professionals and patients.

Junior and senior health-systems management students enrolled in Loyola University Chicago’s health-care marketing class were tasked with investigating a medical device or a product and determining how it can be improved and marketed.

The project, called “Imagination Health Hackathon” involved consulting with professional engineers, designers, and patients who had experience with the device to identify issues and advances to improve them. The products included an insulin pump, a nebulizer for asthma treatment, compression stockings, a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea, and a spinal cord stimulator for pain management. Students were required to present their findings and how they would position and promote the product to a panel of health-care professionals.

“This course provided students with an opportunity to better understand health-care issues involved in the research, development, and marketing of a device,” said Joan Bufalino, MS, MSN, RN, adjunct professor who teaches the course at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. “Much of our coursework focused on non-clinical topics, but health-system management students must know about day-to-day clinical issues. This project gave them a more well-rounded view of health care.”

The course is offered to junior and senior health-systems management students in the fall and spring. Loyola's health-systems management program provides students with the knowledge and critical-thinking skills necessary for the health-care industry.

“I enjoyed working on a project that had meaning and real-world value,” said senior Victoria Gordon. “This experience provided valuable background that prepared me well for a career as a health-systems management professional.”

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