Medical students across the country are coming into a day and age where technology rules, and in a society where iPads and Android phones are voted king, it is no small wonder that professors at the most highly coveted medical schools in the country are moving forward with technology and bringing it right to their students.
This is a rare occurrence, even now in 2012 as we see teachers throttle or even prohibit the use of these devices in class. What they don’t realize is that these small computers can be exactly the learning tools that they need to create the next generation of clinicians.
Face the facts; with 69% of students who own a cell phone benefitting from smartphone ownership, there is a land of opportunity just waiting to be plucked out of the sky. Some of the most well known medical schools in the country use this superior technology to extend the curriculum to their students. Once they graduate they will join the ranks of nearly 80% of physicians using smartphones in their medical practice
There are at least 12 medical schools across the country (and growing) that support a mobile-based curriculum with medical mobile apps, and they include:
- Brown Alpert Medical School
- UC Irvine School of Medicine
- Stanford School of Medicine
- UCLA School of Nursing
- University of Minnesota
- Ohio State College of Medicine
- University of Ottawa
- University of Central Florida College of Medicine (originally given to students by a donor)
- Georgetown School of Medicine
- Harvard School of Medicine
- University of Hawai’i Medical School
- Yale School of Medicine (all students received an iPad & wireless keyboard – the entire curriculum is void of printed materials – and supposedly broke even with the cost they saved from having to print the same material)
- Duke University School of Medicine (not fully integrated, but a lot of projects evaluating impact of implementation)
Dr. Mike Pascoe (a reviewer for the Medical App Journal) shows how he uses the iPad and an Apple TV to teach anatomy with medical mobile apps at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Medical schools don’t always provide the devices to their students, and if not then instead insist that students bring their own, as a great deal of their learning is provided through the mobile device. This may be changing quickly (as in the Yale example above). The licenses for the software suites and applications are often funded entirely by the educational institution, and strict security guidelines must be met prior to their use. For obvious reasons, patients entered into these applications are fictitious. Apple, Inc even provides a way to purchase these apps at a 50% discount through their educational volume discount purchase program.
Many professors and schools, such as Harvard Medical School, are also beginning to develop curriculum based on medical mobile apps. Another example is the Pediatric Residency reference tool from Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Epocrates provides cutting edge applications for medical students on iPhone and Android devices, along with offerings such as the Atlas of Anatomy and Echocardiography Atlas. By providing a visual means for students to connect and interact with the material, you’re giving them an entirely different platform for learning. They also offer an Essentials Package, which includes treatment guidelines, lab tests and panels, tables, test costs as well as drug and disease monographs, in edition to a Deluxe Package.
A fan favorite at Harvard is VisualDX, which can be used on your iPad or iPhone as well as any Android devices. DynaMed, also used at Harvard provides evidence-based content to the classroom in order to help them hone their diagnostic skills through intense research, observation and evaluation.
It might surprise you (or not) to know that the smartphone of choice in America is actually the iPhone, despite the recent successes of the Windows Phone and Google Phone. Wondering why? It is simply the prevalence of both free and paid applications, which gives professors enough flexibility in their curriculum so that they can use multiple applications, instead of having to choose an app that is only well suited to a few weeks of learning. Additionally, development and dissemination is much easier on the iOS platform. Adopting the marvels of medical apps in the classroom is sure to draw the attention of the masses, and help students enjoy the process, too.
In the not so distant future, the question may very well be ”how did you manage to get through school with only textbooks?”