By: Iltifat Husain MD & James O’Neill MD

On iMedicalApps we have been covering the convergence of medical education and mobile since the inception of this publication.

Mobility is already changing the way medical education is taught in medical schools. There are now multiple medical schools that have purchased iPads for all their students. Medical Schools are encouraging their students to use their iPads for anything from anatomy learning to use in the wards while taking care of patients.

But what about medical education after medical school? There have been few examples of mobility being used in residency programs and even for post residency medical education for practicing physicians.

The University of Chicago’s iPad program stands out as a rare example of a residency program embracing mobile for education and for patient care. But even the University of Chicago’s program was more focused on patient care and how the iPad can be used with existing electronic medical records and for use in the wards.

Simply giving the iPad to medical professionals is one step. Mobile software that encourages medical professionals to actually use the devices is the second step — arguably the toughest step. There has not been an example of a residency program embracing mobile tools, such as “the cloud”, to fundamentally change how medical education and a residency program functions.

As a team of residency and faculty members in the Emergency Department at Wake Forest University School of Medicine we set out to change how a residency program can communicate by using the mobile tools available to the general public.

We wanted our Residency program at Wake Forest to be on the mobile cloud. Our goals were the following:

  • Make medical education available in mobile form (device agnostic solution) for all residents and faculty.
  • Provide CME activities and documents to all faculty and residents in mobile form.
  • Use existing mobile storage solutions to provide these solutions in a financially feasible manner so other residency programs have a blueprint to use similar tools.
  • Shift the paradigm of having documents and video that are traditionally stored on static webpages and move them to mobile based cloud solutions and allow this content to be dynamic — give the ability for all faculty and students to upload content and share amongst their peers.
  • The solution has to be secure and approved by the academic centers Information Technology service.

In the following weeks we will publish our results on iMedicalApps and discuss the following:

  • The current workflow of most residency programs, and how mobile cloud based solutions offer potential to improve learning, disseminate key content to faculty faster than traditional means, and improve residency training.
  • The mobile cloud tools available to the general public and how they can be used by residency programs. We will discuss the difficult task of how we decided on our mobile solution.
  • Security associated with various solutions.
  • How we are using the service to disseminate medical information, collaborate, and communicate in our Emergency Medicine department.

We look forward to publishing our results in a peer review journal, but in the interim will be writing about our process of going mobile on iMedicalApps.

Editor’s note from Iltifat Husain:

A special thanks to Dr. O’Neill, my mentor in the EM residency program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Without his support and insight the program we are going to write about would not be possible.