iMedicalApps has previously reported on the growth of mobile tablet technology in medical schools such as UC Irvine. It seems this has not gone unnoticed by Apple who awarded UC Irvine a Apple Distinguished Program for their innovative medical education program based on iPad tablet computing. According to Apple,  The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that integrate Apple technology into education and meet criteria for visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success, and a flexible learning environment.

“The iMedEd Initiative has been selected as an Apple Distinguished Program for its innovative, digital-based educational platform that conforms to the 21st century learning styles and needs of students throughout the world,”

said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Interestingly, the introduction of the iPad appears to have had a positive impact on medical education and learning outcomes as the first class participating in the iMedEd Initiative scored an average of 23 percent higher on their national exams – taken at the end of the second year of medical school – than previous UC Irvine medical school classes, despite having similar incoming GPAs and MCAT scores. Dr Clayman also added that

“The digital platform has enabled us to effectively respond to this responsibility in a manner heretofore unimaginable. By having all aspects of our medical school curriculum on iPad, learning becomes a 24/7 opportunity no longer tied to the classroom or a desk. We believe our students are learning better than they have in the past.”

UC Irvine initially launched their program in 2010 where incoming students were given iPads which were preloaded with apps and textbooks which they needed to study and review. Since then, this has grown to include other additions such as podcasts of lectures and a wealth of other instructional materials assembled for students’ course and clinical work. UC Irvine report that

“This multimedia approach has engendered a rich educational environment that accommodates all modes of learning, especially small group sessions.”

They also note that:

The iPads also provide secure access to patient records and recorded data from “digital stethoscopes, bedside diagnostic ultrasound units and a variety of other medical devices.”

Perhaps the most interesting point of this award is the recognition from Apple themselves of the potential impact mobile tablets such as iPads can have on medical education. As the popularity of such devices amongst medical students increases, so other medical schools will take note.

Source: UC Irvine