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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.

February 25, 2013 I Written By

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.

5 Must-Have Medical Apps for Medical Students

I think it’s safe to say that the next generation of doctors won’t be shying away from using mHealth. However, before having the opportunity to use all the health technology out there in their own practices, there are a few hurdles medical students need to come, the most important being graduation. There are many apps that have been developed to help med students on that journey, and even after graduation. After reading countless reviews, websites, and seeing what apps Harvard Med Students found the most helpful, here is a list of the top five apps for medical students:

1. Epocrates: This app topped many lists that I viewed and for good reason. According to its iTunes page, Epocrates is the number one mobile drug reference used by U.S. physicians, and apparently, 50 percent of physicians rely on it (how accurate that statement is, I have no clue). Before I get ahead of myself, the Epocrates is a company that has a variety of mobile apps available, ranging from anatomy, to first aid, to flash cards for different specialities. Most of them require a hefty fee, but the one I am talking about right now is free. The free version, which allows the user to “get quick access to reliable drug, disease, and diagnostic information at the point of care” has the following features:

  • Clinical information on thousands of prescription, generic, and OTC drugs
  • In-depth formulary information
  • Pill ID
  • Check for adverse reactions between up to 30 drugs at a time
  • Dozens of calculations, such as BMI and GFR
  • Current medical news, research, and information
The app is available for the iPhone, Android, Windows, and the Blackberry.

If you are willing to pay the price, the med students at Harvard recommend Epocrates Essentials, which costs $159 a year, but is far more comprehensive and can be purchased here.

2. iRadiology: Another free app, iRadiology is a “compendium of over 500 unique images demonstrating the classic radiological findings of a multitude  of abnormalities.” The information is pulled from the teachings of Dr. Gillian Lieberman, Director of Harvard Medical Student Education. The resources are available without an Internet connection and would be perfect for studying on the go. The app has over 500 unique cases which have detailed descriptions and a discussion about the findings, quizzes that require the user to find abnormalities, real-life pictures, and a comprehensive keyword search.

The app is available for the iPhone.

3. Dynamed: This app has over 3,100 “evidence-based clinical summaries updated daily and intended for use primarily at the point-of-care.” The database is very comprehensive and organized alphabetically. Conditions, treatments, and more can be easily searched for and reviewed. This is a subscription based app and an access code is required in order to use the app. Many medical institutions have subscriptions and can give their access code to students. However, if your school doesn’t offer a subscription, contact DynaMedSupport@ebscohost.com for an access code. The app covers more than 850 subjects and features a comprehensive drug guide, medical alerts, and calculators.

The app is available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows.


4. Medscape Mobile:
With a nearly 5 star rating in the iTunes app store, 1.4 million healthcare professional users, and the #1 most downloaded free medical app in 2010, this is a must for all students and people working in the medical field. It is a very comprehensive go-to app with a little bit of everything. There is up-to-date meidcal news, clinical references for drugs and diseases, and its newest feature, medical calculators. The calculators have 129 medical formulas, scales, and classifications, and supports both US and SI systems. There is information on over 8,000 drugs, features more than 600 step-by-step procedure videos, and sections on different specialties. If you only download one app during medical school, consider this one.

This app is available for the iPhoneAndroidBlackberry, and Kindle Fire

5. Eponyms (for students): With the amount of eponyms that should be learned, this app helps make that process a little easier. Featuring over 1,700 “common and obscure” eponyms, 28 categories, and learn mode. Learn mode randomly displays different eponyms from a particular category that has been viewed recently, making it easy to review eponymns and get them committed to memory. The app uses a data base of eponyms created by Andrew J. Yee, which can be found here. Note that the free student version is only intended for students.

This app is available for the iPhone and Android.

July 6, 2012 I Written By

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.