Is Digital Learning The Future For Med Students?

There are a lot of great apps out there for med students. Because mHealth is going to be so important for future doctors to have a good grasp on, it would be wise for medical programs to implement learning about this technology into curriculum. The University of California Irvine School of Medicine created a program to do just that.

The iMedEd Initiative aims to “[reinvent] the traditional medical school curriculum,” according to the press release. It will include tablet-based learning and portable ultrasound clinical training, which will help build the digital and interactive learning environment. UCI is the first school to do this, but if it’s successful, I imagine it won’t be the last.

The initiative was launched in 2010, and was named the 2012-2013 Apple Distinguished Program of the year. Students receive an iPad, which is loaded with their textbooks, study materials, and instructional materials such as podcasts. With the cost of traditional textbooks, it seems like this program may decrease the cost of medical school, and being able to have everything that is needed to study available on the iPad can be rather convenient as well.

Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine, offered some insight into the success of the program:

The digital platform has enables us to effectively respond to this responsibility in a manner heretofore unimaginable. By having all aspects of our medical school curriculum on iPad, learning becomes a 24/7 opportunity no longer tied to the classroom or a desk. We believe our students are learning better than they have in the past.

It was also found that the first class participating scored, on average, 23 percent higher on their national exams, as compared to previous med school classes at UC Irvine.

These findings sure seem to show that this is an effective way to teach, and learn. I think it would be great if other programs like this start popping up. Granted, I don’t think traditional teaching should become obsolete. I’m sure there are potential med students out there who would prefer those methods. But it seems like an interesting program that students really will enjoy, and help improve scores as well.

About the author

Katie Clark

Katie Clark

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.