UC Irvine’s School of Medicine is reinventing the traditional medical school curriculum for the 21st century, becoming one of the first in the nation to build a completely digital, interactive learning environment for the entering class of 2014.
UC Irvine’s iMedEd Initiative will foster highly individualized and small-group learning for a richer medical school experience. The program, targeted initially at first-year students, aims to transform the classic lecturer-passive listener model with digital textbooks, online curricula, audio and video libraries, podcasts and other technological advances such as digital stethoscopes and portable ultrasound units.
The pilot program uses Apple’s iPad to digitally house the entire first-year curriculum, outlines, handouts and essential textbooks. The devices, which are provided to each entering student, also are loaded with hundreds of medical applications, note-taking and recording capabilities, and many other tools that complement diverse learning styles. Short, topic-based podcast lectures can be reviewed as often as desired as preparation for small-group discussions.
In addition, the encrypted tablet is a platform for complimentary technologies that enhance the curriculum. Students using digital stethoscopes can listen to a patient’s heart then transmit the audio and visual data for comparison with a library of heart beat sounds, allowing for better interpretation and increased comprehension.
The iMedEd Initiative also is integrating portable ultrasound devices into the curriculum, providing students with a noninvasive diagnostic tool to examine internal organs and blood flow. Specially designed iPad applications let students consult video tutorials as they perform bedside ultrasounds, enabling them to review normal and abnormal examinations and track procedures for quality assurance.
Through the iMedEd Initiative, we are preparing future physicians to practice 21st-century medicine in an increasingly digital, highly mobile healthcare environment.