Using information literacy to teach medical entrepreneurship and health care economics

Alexander J. Carroll, Shelby J. Hallman, Kelly A. Umstead, James McCall, Andrew J. DiMeo


Objective: Entrepreneurship and innovative product design in health care requires expertise in finding and evaluating diverse types of information from a multitude of sources to accomplish a number of tasks, such as securing regulatory approval, developing a reimbursement strategy, and navigating intellectual property. The authors sought to determine whether an intensive, specialized information literacy training program that introduced undergraduate biomedical engineering students to these concepts would improve the quality of the students’ design projects. We also sought to test whether information literacy training that included active learning exercises would offer increased benefits over training delivered via lectures and if this specialized information literacy training would increase the extent of students’ information use.

Methods: A three-arm cohort study was conducted with a control group and two experimental groups. Mixed methods assessment, including a rubric and citation analysis, was used to evaluate program outcomes by examining authentic artifacts of student learning.

Results: Student design teams that received information literacy training on topics related to medical entrepreneurship and health care economics showed significantly improved performance on aspects of project performance relevant to health care economics over student design teams that did not receive this training. There were no significant differences between teams that engaged in active learning exercises and those that only received training via lectures. Also, there were no significant differences in citation patterns between student teams that did or did not receive specialized information literacy training.

Conclusions: Information literacy training can be used as a method for introducing undergraduate health sciences students to the health care economics aspects of the medical entrepreneurship life cycle, including the US Food and Drug Administration regulatory environment, intellectual property, and medical billing and reimbursement structures.


Information Literacy; Teaching; Evidence-Based Practice; Libraries; Biomedical Engineering; Learning; Entrepreneurship; Inventions; United States Food and Drug Administration; Medical Devices

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