By Katie Wike, contributing writer
Students starting at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences this fall will be given iPads joining the growing list medical schools subscribing to mobile learning
Healthcare organizations have been inundated with tablets and mobile technology recently. Apps for iPad are being used in the operating room to transform the tablet into a real time viewfinder and other apps send critical patient information to the ER or keep patients on track with their medications and treatments. With this type of technology at the forefront of innovation and even being used as a replacement for mobile computing carts, its essential physicians know how to easily and quickly navigate the technology.
This isn’t something that has just happened, either. Nearly three years ago, MobiHealthNews wrote, “As smartphone and tablet usage by physicians continues to rise, medical schools are seeing the importance of incorporating these devices into their curriculum.” Listed among the nine schools that “either require students to purchase mobile devices or equip them with these devices” in 2011 were:
George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences is set to become the most recent school to join this list, announcing, “Beginning in fall 2014, each first-year GW medical student will also receive an iPad - a tool that is commonplace in today’s hospitals, allowing physicians to access electronic medical records and information on the web from their patients’ bedsides.
“‘The more comfortable students become using those tools, I think the better their ability to function as physicians in the 21st century is going to be,’ said Katherine Kennedy, a professor of pharmacology and physiology who has experimented with iPad use in her classroom.”
“‘We had a committee that studied this for about five months to develop a strategic plan, and the most important overarching guiding principle of this is that our curriculum, our learning goals, and our objectives are driving this,’ Bernhard Wiedermann, a professor of pediatrics told MobiHealthNews. ‘And by that I mean technologic capabilities or limitations are not going to dictate what our curriculum is. So iPads, for example, support that. I think the key was more developing resources to focus on a curricular revision where we could envision the technology.’
“Early in the medical school year students might get together and develop an iPad-based educational material for the patients, with a particular disease process where they can demonstrate the key elements of the anatomy, or different things like that and use it to explain the process to patients. And if they can do that, and have it be well understood by the layperson, that’s a mastery of material much earlier in their medical training than has been expected in the past.”
Professors emphasize that the school will work with students during orientation and afterward to teach them about social media ethics and HIPAA compliance rules in mobile technology. This is a relatively new area of security and privacy rules - as well as those which apply to text messaging. “It’s all about getting future physicians up to speed sooner,” Dr. Wiedermann said.
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