David Hindin, MD, is a writer, entrepreneur, and chief surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA (USA). He has a lifelong passion for creative pursuits, and is particularly interested in innovations within the medical world. David is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Invented Magazine, an iOS app startup that highlights the stories behind innovative medical and tech startups making an impact in the world. In addition to his MD, David holds a master’s degree in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship from the Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University. He is currently embarking on a research study to assess the full breadth of innovation-based training throughout US-based medical school system, and is chronicling highlights in a new YouTube series, entitled “Why Your Doctor Should Daydream”, which explores the importance of maintaining creativity within medical school.
The Invented Magazine app can be found in the iOS App Store under “Invented Magazine” and at http://bit.ly/GetInvented
His YouTube channel can be found at https://www.youtube.com/davidhindin
What inspired you to become involved in medical innovation?
Medical innovation sits at the intersection of the things that excite me most in life.
Growing up, I was always interested in science and medicine. I was fascinated by what makes the human body work, and then how to fix problems that arise when people get sick. That’s a big part of what drew me to medicine.
But, I think there is a creative side to many of us who go into medicine, too. For me, this urge to find a creative outlet and solve problems is why I became so passionate about innovation. Medical innovation is really a way to apply this kind of “creative energy” in a direction that has a direct, tangible impact on people’s health.
This urge to find a creative outlet and solve problems is why I became so passionate about innovation
Tell us about the journey you have been on with your app-based medical innovation magazine, Invented.
Invented grew out of a personal need, really. I found myself wanting to learn more about early stage startups in the medical and health spaces. When I started searching online for the type of resource I had in mind, I struggled to find what I was looking for in a single place. I didn’t just want to find out about the newest, “hot” startups. I wanted to learn the in-the-trenches stories behind them, including behind the lesser-known startups that might not be as prominent in the media. That’s where the idea for the Invented app was born.
It started with the idea for the app in late summer of 2015. By the fall of 2015 I had put together a plan and a business model for the magazine. I launched a Kickstarter campaign December 2015 to raise some initial funding, and was fortunate enough to reach our funding goal. Over the next few months, I got to work developing the app, while working with designers to solidify the “look and feel”. We launched our first season in the second half of 2016.
We’re also working on developing additional content for video, for a podcast and for an online blog. However, the magazine really has been the heart and the focal point of the brand and where everything started.
On a personal level, founding Invented has also been a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the brightest, most creative people in the world. I still conduct all of the interviews myself, and this has given me a front row seat to meeting the people that inspire me the most and to learn from them directly. It’s my hope that the magazine is able to bring that same experience to anyone who comes across it and reads it.
It’s been a long journey, but it’s been incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Founding Invented has also been a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the brightest, most creative people in the world
Let’s shift gears for a moment. You recently launched a new YouTube series focused on creativity and innovation education for medical students in the U.S. What’s the name of the channel?
That’s right – and I’m having a blast so far! The channel is www.YouTube.com/DavidHindin
What is an early theme that you’ve noticed?
One of the biggest themes I’ve been seeing has been a confirmation of a personal belief that I’ve held for a long time: which is that so many medical students have these untapped wells of creativity. I’ve been finding that at med school after med school, there are incredible stories of medical students and clinicians using their innate creativity to launch incredible solutions to real-life, clinical problems.
There are incredible stories of medical students and clinicians using their innate creativity to launch incredible solutions to real-life, clinical problems
Along those lines, what are the most advanced hospitals and medical schools in terms of pushing medical innovation education in the U.S.?
This is a tough question, because there are so many incredible things going on all over the U.S., and because innovation and exposure to it occurs in all sorts of different ways.
I’m a surgery resident at Temple University Hospital, so I’ve been able to see first hand some of the ways that Temple’s med students are encouraged to start thinking creatively. At Temple, medical students have access to Virtual Reality (VR) headsets to learn anatomy and there is formalised training in medical humanities, where students are helped to learn through narrative medicine and use this to inform their experience. This might not be related to tech on the immediate level, but this is something that certainly taps into the kinds of creative thinking that I believe benefits our clinicians down the line.
At Stanford, medical students have the opportunity to enrol in classes within the school’s Biodesign offerings, giving these students a front row seat to learn the process of finding a need, determining possible solutions, iterating on solutions, and finally developing a physical product that can solve the problem.
And at Jefferson University Medical School, students are exposed to this type of design thinking through programs at the hospital, through their Jefferson Health Design Lab. This space allows students to get creative and roll their sleeves up in a kind of “innovator’s playground” – an abandoned bank vault repurposed with 3D printers, prototyping equipment, and the resources to create nearly any prototype they can imagine.
How common is the pursuit of entrepreneurial interests alongside medical training in the U.S.?
For the most part, the majority of medical schools in the U.S. don’t yet have formal training for entrepreneurial pursuits within their medical curriculum – and this makes sense, because med schools are focused on providing students with as much clinical knowledge as possible in a relatively short timeframe. What we are beginning to see, though – and I believe there will be more of this in the coming years – are ways that medical schools are supporting entrepreneurship from new angles. Many schools, for example, have begun to sponsor hackathons. These are brief competitions where students compete to quickly develop a solution to a clinical need, with the winning prize often being funds to launch the product.
Of course, some medical schools also offer more traditional pathways towards entrepreneurship, where students have the opportunity to combine medical studies with a business school curriculum and graduate with an MD-MBA.
If you were to develop a healthcare innovation course from scratch for the medical profession which topics would you cover as a priority?
This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as I film my YouTube series. For starters, I would have this type of curriculum offered to medical students early on in the process, long before they reach clinical rotations, because as soon as you become clinically active, this begins to restrict your creativity in so many ways. You start looking at problems in medicine and potential solutions through the lens of what you have studied and been told. This can be a great asset, but this can also limit your ability to think creatively.
Step one of the curriculum would include some form of design thinking training. There are different variations on this process, such as Stanford’s incredible Biodesign program, but all of them start with a focus on empathy, looking for needs and problems faced by our patients. Empathy, of course, is already a growing focus in medical schools – we see it mentioned and emphasized within doctoring curriculums, for instance. But here, med students would learn to use empathy as a lens to leverage towards patient-centric problem solving.
And there would certainly be a friendly competition component to this curriculum, too. I’d put students on teams and incentivise them to develop a solution to a clinical problem, modelled off of a startup competition – like one of the hackathons we talked about earlier.
This much is clear: you can only learn so much about innovation in a classroom. After that, you need to start putting it into action.
This much is clear: can only learn so much about innovation in a classroom. After that, you need to start putting it into action.