Teaching Computer Programming to Medical Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff: A Pilot Study

Pieter Kubben*, Pepijn Looije, Albert Scherpbier, Frits van Merode

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is plenty of opportunity where the medical world can benefit from caregivers who can translate point-of-care challenges into digital solutions using coding skills. The objective of this pilot study is to evaluate the feasibility of teaching computer programming to hospital staff with no or limited programming experience. In October 2015 during the EU Code Week 2015 we organized a 2-day introductory workshop Building Medical Apps for hospital staff (n=14) using Apple's XCode integrated development environment with the Swift programming language. The first day focused on basic programming fundamentals, whereas the second day focused on building a graphical user interface and adding interactivity with code. General programming knowledge improved with a mean of 1.4±0.5 and a median of 1.0 (IQR 1.0) points. App building skills improved with a median of 0.9±0.5 and a median of 1.0 (IQR 0.0) points. The degree to which participants considered having programming skills to be important increased with a mean of 1.2±0.9 and a median of 1.0 (IQR 2.0) points. The willingness to develop apps if participants were to be supported in legal aspects of software development increased with 1.0±0.7 and a median of 1.0 (IQR 0.0) points. In conclusion, this pilot demonstrates feasibility of teaching computer programming to an audience of medical doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Two days of training was sufficient to get a basic level of skills to build a simple mobile app. Participants expressed a desire to continue using these skills, provided they would get support from the hospital such as a helpdesk for questions and regulatory affairs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number555632
Number of pages5
JournalOpen Access Journal of Neurology & Neurosurgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017

Cite this