The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, a bilingual medical school in Canada, recently conducted an experiment using the iPad and a Lenovo Tablet to conduct gross anatomy exams for medical students. They published their results in eLearn Magazine.

Along with discussing some of the outcomes of the paper below, we have talked to one of the main authors of the paper, who has informed us which mobile device the Ottawa medical school has decided to move forward with.

Reasons behind going mobile were multifaceted.  The school states the high use of paper, the time to organize examination stations, and the time to grade tests as some of the reasons behind the desire to go mobile.  Note, for seven gross anatomy exams, an astonishing 35,000 pieces of paper are required.  Also, the school felt the time savings of going mobile would allow them to spend more time providing student feedback.

To those who might not be aware of how gross anatomy is tested, traditionally it has been impossible to have electronic exams for the lab portion of the exam.  Students are required to go from station to station looking at marked anatomical figures in a timed fashion, making it impracticable to carry around a laptop.

Two devices were used in the medical school’s experiment: Lenovo S10-3t running Windows 7 Enterprise (Tablet PC) and the Apple iPad Wi-Fi 64GB running iOS 3.2.  The instructors used Questionmark — a software company that allows you to make a question bank — for the electronic anatomy test.  For the experiment, four mock anatomy stations were made, each with multiple electronic choice questions.  Of note, there are medical schools, such as mine, that do not use multiple choice questions for the lab portion of gross anatomy exams.  We are required to fill in the correct answer choice.

In the experiment, a student, IT staff member, and faculty member used both the iPad and the Lenovo tablet.  Afterwards they answered questions about their overall impressions and preferences regarding the use of the devices.

The feedback was overall positive — the participants liked the immediate feedback from the electronic exam and the ease of use. The two drawbacks identified were the dependence on an internet connection and stress related to not having a tangible paper examination.

From the initial data collected by these types of trial modules, the medical faculty have found that the iPad is the device to be moving forward with, not the Lenovo.  In a conversation with Dr. Alireza Jalali, he states the school will be moving forward with trying to implement the iPad in their curriculum.  They need 84 iPads in order to administer gross anatomy exams electronically, and currently the follow through on this iPad mobile medical curriculum is pending budget allocation.  The school hopes they will be able to implement the electronic curriculum starting the next academic year.

As I mentioned prior, there are schools that do not have multiple choice questions for portions of their gross anatomy exam.  However, this article shows the same concept could be applied — instead of a multiple choice question the students could input their answers using a touch screen. In gross anatomy, you are not required to write out paragraphs, just words, making a touch screen keyboard manageable.

Source and original article: eLearn Magazine – Administering a Gross Anatomy Exam Using Mobile Technology

Picture was given to iMedicalApps by faculty of medical school