In a little seen nugget published in an article of the Chronicle, the Ivy League medical school, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, will be requiring their incoming medical students to use the Inkling e-book app for key medical textbooks in their first year of medical school.

They will be requiring their incoming first year class to purchase iPads as well.

We have been the first to report how and why Inkling is a game changer in the arena of medical e-books when we reviewed Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology:

Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology for the iPad allows you to highlight, write notes, view innovative multimedia modules, and easily search for content — taking what you can do on a paper based textbook to a higher level — and taking e-learning to a completely different stratosphere.

The three key Inkling textbooks that will be required by Brown University’s medical school: Essential Clinical Anatomy, Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy, and Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking.

The medical school’s director of preclinical curriculum, Luba Demenco, had the following thoughts to share with the Chronicle on the iPad implementation into the curriculum:

….she was on the fence about whether to require students to purchase Inkling versions until she read through them herself. The interactivity and portability sold her, and should be a great plus for students, she says. “Being able to have an educational tool made all the difference.”

The chapter option, she adds, was not an important part of her decision. Indeed, Brown students will still be expected to purchase entire texts and retain them as a reference. Dr. Dumenco does think the chapter option could be useful for students looking to brush up on concepts—cell biology, say—that they were expected to have learned before medical school.

The chapter version that Dr. Dumenco is referencing is the ability to buy single chapters, a feature we spoke highly of in our original review:

The ability to buy individual chapters for $1.99 cannot be overstated. One of the worst feelings as a medical student is when you purchase an expensive book at full price, only to find you used only one quarter of the chapters or fewer.

Schools that have largely PDF based curriculums, such as Stanford, have had an easier time transitioning medical content to the iPad. Schools that have implemented an iPad curriculum that requires referencing textbooks have expressed their frustration with textbook publishers to iMedicalApps.  They have found “textbook silos” — the inflexibility of e-book medical publishers to share content and add functionality to electronic medical books — to be a hindrance of implementing mobile curriculums.

Although Inkling’s model could be pegged as creating another textbook silo — at least it creates a value added by its interactive nature and innovative pricing scheme.

At the end of the day, we’re definitely excited to see how Inkling continues to morph, and still feel it’s a game changer for medical education.  We’re happy that we’re not the only ones in the medical ecosystem that feel the same way…

Source: The Chronicle

iTunes: Inkling iPad app