Integrating technology into med school education (US)

Medical students today enter their training oriented to technology, tablets in hand, but medical education usually does not integrate technology into practical use, particularly in the science-intensive first two years. Here are three med schools which are making an effort to do so:

  • Hofstra-North Shore LIJ in Long Island, New York has new students spend their first eight weeks not in lecture classes but becoming certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs). This Editor guarantees they will have a greater appreciation for emergency medicine and patients needs after this.
  • Penn State-Hershey, a major medical system in eastern central Pennsylvania, has their first-year students work as “patient navigators,” helping them and their families get through the medical system and learning about it, from the patient perspective, first-hand. The article doesn’t specify, but presumably they will learn something about how EHRs work (or not), PHRs and the pre/post-discharge process.
  • NYU School of Medicine has a course using a database that tracks NY admission and charges. Students then analyze service and cost disparities. (Nice, but seems like a distraction to the basic crunch work.)
  • Mayo Clinic is converting much of the traditional lecture material to electronic formats for its two medical schools for greater accessibility.

However, under the tent flap of improvements also comes sheer, screaming puzzlements like the latest version of the arduous MCAT, the medical school admissions test in the US and Canada. Effective in April, the examiners are adding two hours to the test length (now at 6.5 hours) to include behavioral and social sciences, with questions like which of four statements “is most consistent with the sociological paradigm of symbolic interactionism?” (Say wot?) Theoretically, this might be nice, but pre-med tends to be short on sociology. Not quite what this Editor considers as….Innovation Is Sweeping Through U.S. Medical Schools (WSJ)

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