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The Business Engineering Surgical Technologies (BEST) teaching method: incubating talents for surgical innovation

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Technological innovation in surgical science and healthcare is vital and calls for close collaboration between engineering and surgery. To meet this objective, BEST was designed as a free sustainable innovative teaching method for young professionals, combining surgery, engineering, and business in a multidisciplinary, high-quality, low-cost, and learning-by-doing philosophy.


This paper reviews the initial outcomes of the program and discusses lessons learned and future directions of this innovative educational method.


BEST educational method is delivered in two parts: the first component consisting of live streaming or pre-recorded online lectures, with an interdisciplinary profile focused on surgery, engineering, and business. The second component is an annual 5-day on-site course, organized at IRCAD-IHU, France. The program includes workshops in engineering, entrepreneurship team projects, and in-depth hands-on experience in laparoscopy, robotic surgery, interventional radiology, and flexible endoscopy with special emphasis on the interdisciplinary aspect of the training. A panel of surgeons, engineers, well-established entrepreneurs, and scientists assessed the team projects for potential patent application.


From November 2011 till September 2013, 803 individual and institutional users from 79 different countries attended the online course. In total, 134 young professionals from 32 different countries applied to the onsite course. Sixty participants were selected each year for the onsite course. In addition, five participants were selected for a web-based team. Thirteen provisional patents were filed for the most promising projects.


BEST proved to be a global talent incubator connecting students to high-quality education despite institutional and economical boundaries. Viable and innovative ideas arose from this revolutionary approach which is likely to spin-off significant technology transfer and lead the way for future interdisciplinary hybrid surgical education programs and career paths.

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This work was supported by the IHU and the IRCAD France with technical and financial resources to create and support the BEST educational method. We would like to thank Bruno Mutet, Antoine Agathon, Jean-Luc Dimarq, Thomas Parent, Pietro Riva, and the BEST faculty for the tremendous support, contribution, and work done.


Vivian de Ruijter, Peter Halvax, Bernard Dallemagne, Lee Swanström, Jacques Marescaux, and Silvana Perretta have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to V. de Ruijter.

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de Ruijter, V., Halvax, P., Dallemagne, B. et al. The Business Engineering Surgical Technologies (BEST) teaching method: incubating talents for surgical innovation. Surg Endosc 29, 48–54 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-014-3652-1

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  • Surgical innovation
  • Hybrid surgery
  • Education
  • Medical device development