As someone who’s interested in innovation, I’m always on the lookout for the best medical schools that are pushing the envelope. In most cases, the technological equivalent of today’s medical education is a rotary telephone—it might get the job done, but it does it in the most inconvenient way possible. Unless you’re some sort of antique-obsessed hipster if someone offered you either a rotary telephone or the latest iPhone for the same price you’d probably question their sanity.

However, this is exactly the choice we’re offering students. While most schools have focused on keeping up with rapid changes in guidelines, treatment options, and medical technology, fewer have recognized that the methods available to teach these changes have also evolved.

Below are four of the best medical schools that are providing an iPhone experience by embracing new techniques, technologies, and philosophies to modernize medical education.

1. Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic

Case Western Reserve Medical School


Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) have built a new Health Education Campus to educate students from the university’s schools of medicine, nursing, and dental medicine, all in one location. Students in the three programs will interact closely and learn together in areas designed to resemble different healthcare settings. This approach will allow each student to learn extensively about the other disciplines and facilitate the idea of medicine as a “team sport.”

CWRU is also taking advantage of cutting-edge technology. Instead of using traditional cadavers and static drawings, students will be learning about anatomy using Microsoft’s new augmented reality device, Hololens. The Hololens technology enables students to explore the inner-workings of every nook and cranny of the human body in both healthy and diseased states—a far more engaging and dynamic experience.

2. Vermont Medical School



You may have already read about Vermont Medical School’s announcement to be entirely lecture-free by 2019. It may be one of the oldest medical schools in the country, but that isn’t stopping it from ditching one of the oldest techniques in the book.

Leaders at the university recognize that lectures aren’t ideal for teaching the types of skills that doctors need. They have already begun the process of phasing out lectures and replacing them with more hands-on, active learning activities. Students are expected to learn basic information before coming to class and are then spending time in class working with other students to solve complex cases and problems.

3. University of Virginia School of Medicine

UVA medical School


At the University of Virginia School of Medicine, faculty are encouraging students to use design thinking to better understand patients and become more compassionate doctors. Design thinking is a creative, iterative process for solving problems that take into account not only the observable characteristics of the person (or people) with the problem but also their emotional state and needs.

An exciting example is a new partnership that has emerged between the medical students and students at the School of Architecture.  The Emergency Department needs to be expanded, which has provided an opportunity for students from both schools to work together to understand the issues patients face in the ED and design a new ED that vastly improves the patient experience.

4. Dell Medical School



Dell Medical School is unique in many ways. Not only is it the first new medical school at a tier 1 University in over 50 years, but it was funded by local taxpayers and built with the primary goal of improving medical education and care delivery in the surrounding community.  Because Dell is starting from scratch, it has the opportunity to completely rethink how physicians are trained and what the impact of their training should be.

Students at Dell learn in collaborative workspaces rather than lecture halls. The curriculum encourages them to think critically about ways to promote the health and well-being of the patients they see face-to-face, as well as society at large. Their third year is considered an “Innovation, Leadership and Discovery Year,” where they are encouraged to apply the principles of design thinking to solve some of the most pressing problems in healthcare. In doing so, Dell hopes to create a new generation of physician leaders.

Who do you think are the best medical schools for innovation? We’d like to hear about them! Let us know by posting a comment below.