Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are we ready to change?

IPods Change How One Medical School Teaches Future Doc

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - COLUMBUS, Ohio - By the time he graduates, third-year Ohio State medical student Justin Harper will have attended more than 2,000 hours of classroom lectures, dedicating more than two-thirds of his waking hours to medical school. The pressures of becoming a doctor led Harper to develop a tool that is changing how medical students at The Ohio State University study.

Harper and other Ohio State medical students now use portable media players like the Apple iPod Touch to remove breaks, pauses and other non-essential elements from recorded lectures, cutting their length by a half to a third. For example, a 50-minute lecture can be downloaded and condensed to roughly 30 minutes.

The media players, widely used for entertainment, have become an essential part of learning for new doctors, according to Dr. Catherine Lucey, vice dean for education at Ohio State’s College of Medicine.

“By speeding up lectures, compressing them, editing out pauses and removing extraneous noises from lectures, our students can be more efficient with their time, yet not lose valuable classroom content,” says Lucey. “They can study when they’re refreshed and delve into topics not as easily understood, as often as they want and at the speed in which they want.”

Thanks to the iPod Touch and editing software, Harper spends the six hours a day he might have spent in lectures doing other things, sometimes while listening to shortened lectures on his iPod. Most importantly, he’s using the time he’s saving to get valuable patient experience.

“I can use that time to go to the operating room and observe a surgery, I could go and shadow someone and then that evening I could listen to my lectures, knowing I didn’t miss out on anything,” Harper says.

Ohio State’s medical students have been using the iPod Touch since 2007 to assist with their academic and clinical activities. Each student receives a device equipped with medical software programs developed by faculty at Ohio State’s College of Medicine.

At the bedside, medical students are answering patient questions with instant access to the most recent journal articles and medical literature. Additionally, patients can view videos of surgical procedures and medical treatments on the students’ iPods and know what to expect, lessening the fear of the unknown.

While they may be little devices, students and doctors alike here are realizing the big difference these media players could make in medical training for generations to come. In fact, administrators are now enlisting the help of the engineering department at Ohio State to have students and professors write new, more sophisticated applications for the devices.

Reprinted in The Star, 7 March 2010.

P/s: Afif Halim,Matmin, Zarif, Helmi Yob, Faiz Salleh, Qayyum.

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