Stanford School of Medicine is giving the iPad to all incoming medical students

Update: We have included the press release just posted by Stanford at the end of this article.

Look’s like Stanford School of Medicine’s incoming class of first years will have an innovate study tool to help ease the pain from the countless hours of studying – Apple’s iPad. Apple Insider is reporting that each incoming student in the Stanford School of Medicine Class of 2014 will be getting the iPad as part of their welcome kit.

The school cited four reasons behind the new program, including student readiness, noting that iPad “creates opportunities for efficient, mobile, and innovative learning.”

Stanford also noted “the flexibility of iPad technology,” noting that “iPad allows students to view and annotate course content electronically, facilitating advance preparation as well as in-class note-taking in a highly portable, sharable and searchable format.”

It’s standard procedure for many medical schools to equip their students with laptops that have pre-loaded software students can use for studying and taking online tests. But Stanford just took it a step further with the iPad.  My first reaction to the news was negative.  I thought it would be a waste of money.  Everything you can do with an iPad you can do better with a computer. Plus, it’s not like the school is “giving away” the iPad, the cost is going to be coming out of tuition – why not use that towards better laptops? But the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me.

This would really only work for medical literature, where the dynamic screen on the iPad can enhance medical images and tables that populate medical text. I thought about a fantastic article written by one of our editors, Felasfa Wodajo, where he lays out exactly how the iPad would be fantastic for medical literature.

It’ll be interesting to see what apps the school’s IT department will be putting on the iPad for the medical students.  My guess is you’ll seeing lots of anatomy apps and PDF reading apps.  This is going to be a fantastic story to follow and we’d love to hear from some Stanford medical students when they start using the iPad for studying.  Either way, learning gross anatomy just got a whole lot more fun.

Update: The Stanford School of Medicine just posted a great press release talking about how exactly the iPad will be used for the medical school.  Here are some interesting excerpts:

The core goal of the iPad initiative is to improve the student learning experience. The decision to provide the devices was prompted by a desire to give students flexible access to the content that they need whether it is a virtual cadaver in dissection lab, annotated lecture slides and videos in the classroom, or journal articles for evidence-based practice in clinic.

“We want to explore the use of iPads and other technologies to help students access the enormous amount of medical knowledge that is being produced constantly,” said Charles Prober, MD, the school’s senior associate dean for medical education. “Part of the challenge facing medical students, and all doctors, is the overwhelming amount of information. Devices like the iPad may be able to help users access that pool of knowledge.”

The school will monitor the use of the iPads through regular surveys to help determine how helpful they are to students, pointing out that past experiments with similar electronic devices, such as the Kindle, in academic settings haven’t been successful.

“We really don’t know yet how the incoming medical students will use them,” said Henry Lowe, MD, senior associate dean for information resources and technology. But, as a physician using an iPad himself, he’s found the device to be extremely helpful and believes it is growing in popularity among doctors.

“Physicians are a mobile group,” Lowe said. “They’re moving around from clinic to clinic, from patient to patient. … I’ve seen a variety of reports from across the country saying that physicians have seized on the iPad as a helpful device.”

For at least one current student, there’s no question that an iPad is helpful with her medical education.

“Pretty much this is a perfect tool for what I need to do,” said Stesha Doku, a 23-year-old, second-year Stanford medical student from North Carolina who recently bought an iPad. “I use it for reviewing slides from last year, for saving everything in one place. I probably won’t use my laptop in class anymore.

So basically, Stanford appears to be leaving it up to their students on how to use their iPad. It appears the UC Irvine School of Medicine (recent article) is taking a more direct approach and actually implementing the iPad into their curriculum. Either way, it appears the iPad has firmly gained a presence as a key tool for medical education.

Source: Apple Insider


Iltifat Husain, MD

Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Mobile App curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is also the founder of iPrescribeApps, a platform for prescribing apps to patients. Dr. Husain has given lectures on digital medicine globally. He went to North Carolina State University for undergrad and went to medical school at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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34 Responses to Stanford School of Medicine is giving the iPad to all incoming medical students

  1. Norfeldt August 1, 2010 at 5:25 am #

    Interesting idea, but I think it would have been better if it had been an android tablet instead. I know the app store isn’t that big for android yet but you can install apps that hasn’t have to be approved first by the app store.

    • jim August 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

      uh, correct me if i’m wrong, but there isn’t an android tablet yet. and why develop in house apps when there are plenty to buy already

      • zorg August 5, 2010 at 10:57 am #

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but Norfeldt will correct you even if you’re not wrong. In other words, an Apple hater in a frenzy is not bothered by the lack of existence of his preferred alternative. I’m actually surprised that he didn’t complain that it has a one-button mouse or that it is more expensive than the Windows equivalent.

    • Jim Sanderson September 6, 2010 at 2:34 am #

      LMAO… yeah, when the student is in his graduating year!

      Why bother replacing a Ferrari with a Studebaker?

  2. Kevin August 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    UC Irvine is doing the same

    • Felasfa Wodajo August 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

      that is very interesting – do you know any details ?

    • Iltifat Husain August 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

      Really?! can you give more details?

    • Iltifat Husain August 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

      Actually. We just found the press release and have posted it in the
      site. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Sophi August 4, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    2014? Does anyone besides me think that some other newer, better technology is going to be in place by then?

    • Norfeldt August 4, 2010 at 10:35 am #

      No doubt there gonna be. At that time you will see android tablets with >= 1 Ghz processor and screen like pixel qi. They will have the ability to attach extra devices like usb flash drive, webcams, scanners an other interesting features. They will be able to run Flash and you will see an explosion of innovative apps because Google at that time will have released the drag-and-drop app building program.

      • zorg August 5, 2010 at 11:02 am #

        … and they will have a battery life of 1 minute and no one will buy them and … See, Norfeldt, designing a tablet is not like designing a Windows PC. You can’t simply pile features on and still have it weigh 1.3 lbs and run all day. You seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Further, Google has already released the drag-and-drop app building program and I have used it extensively. I like it but it takes nothing away from the achievement of Apple’s iOS SDK and it is not going to magically erase the iPad’s popularity. Try to face the reality that Apple has done something really special here. I know it is hard for an Apple hater, but try to give it up. You’ll feel better.

        • Felasfa Wodajo August 5, 2010 at 11:31 am #

          This is a very entertaining exchange but please remember to keep comments respectful. Thank you.

        • Iltifat Husain August 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

          hahaha, yea, just wanted to second what Felasfa just said. hilarious exchange though. it really is a testament to Android though that they now have Android fan boys, and I think thats great overall for everyone. it’s great that Android is finally providing some competition to Apple in the mobile category over the last couple months, after years of sub par products. products like the evo(great hardware, solid Android/HTC os) are great at keeping the market competitive and pushing all the companies to produce quality products.

      • Jim September 6, 2010 at 2:36 am #


        Yeah, and it’ll fly you around the world too!

        An explosion of innovative apps!

        Too funny!

    • anon August 5, 2010 at 10:01 am #

      Class of 2014 means starting in 2010 (this year).

    • Iltifat Husain August 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

      As mentioned by one of our other readers below, Class of 2014 means the incoming class. Medical school is 4 years long, so the Class of 2014 will be starting this year, in 2010.

  4. Sanjay Rafik August 4, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Good idea!Personally, I bought some medical applications and is very useful in everyday life .For instance I am using Netter flashcards, Monster Anatomy and Osirix on my iPad and it helps me a lot. Sanjay

  5. November 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Inventory control. We meant to measure it with replacement value exclusively, we
    all use supply turns and am aiming towards a total value cycle once per month

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