In both business and engineering courses case studies are often used to teach students the practical application of course concepts. While business case students tend to generally be complex and consider the roles and interests of various stakeholders the engineering case studies tend to focus on a core technical concept.

Overall Teaching Objective & Learning Goals

In conceptualizing case studies for our medical devices course it aided to first establish an overall teaching objective for our case studies. Our overall teaching objective was to expose students to the complex issues surrounding clinical use of medical devices.

We established 3 general learning goals for all case studies:

  1. Understand the biological/physiological/pathological condition that underlies the clinical need for treatment.
  2. Learn about a variety of different medical devices: technology, history, development
  3. Develop individual and collective perspectives of how the various stakeholders in the medical device development pathway may impact the outcome of a device to the patient and community at large.  

In each case study experience, we wanted our engineering students to recognize and account for the fact that the success of a medical device depends on achieving a balance between technical, marketing/strategic, regulatory, and user priorities.

Learning Goals for Individual Case Studies

After establishing overall objectives and goals for our series of case studies we mapped out the goals for individual case studies. We wanted to ensure that we covered the breadth of biological and clinical conditions addressed by and the breadth of successes and failures experienced by medical devices . On the former point, our case studies ranged from blood contacting cardiovascular implants to topically applied drug releasing patches. For the latter point we focused on the interplay between product design and user experience and how each aspect individually or in tandem can define the product outcome.