mHealth Research Digest with Tim Bredrup

Access to current information for patient care through mobile technology offers assistance to medical students in the clinical setting, but the best ways to fully utilize this aid still remains unclear. To resolve this, a study was conducted in the UK that examined how mobile technology enables medical students to learn and what theoretical underpinning supports the learning.

Methods included providing 387 students each with a personal digital assistant (PDA) equipped with clinical study resources. In efforts to assess the outcomes, the researchers used qualitative and quantitative analysis of surveys, focus groups and usage tracking data.

Having quick access to key facts and being able to conveniently reference them repeatedly proved helpful in the learning process. It was reported that the PDA was a valuable addition, but a smartphone platform would have been preferred. In regards to a means of educating, mobile technology is proving useful but is not currently a candidate for replacing the status quo. In some cases, the PDA was disruptive in clinical interactions and also received unfavorable responses from teachers and patients.

According to the researcher’s conclusions,

This is the first study to describe the learning ecology and pedagogic basis behind the use of mobile learning technologies in a large cohort of undergraduate medical students in the clinical environment. We have developed a model for mobile learning in the clinical setting that shows how different theories contribute to its use taking into account positive and negative contextual factors.

Authors: Davies BS, Rafique J, Vincent TR, Fairclough J, Packer MH, Vincent R, Haq I.

Institution: Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, East Sussex, UK

Original Abstract: Pubmed