At UC Irvine School of Medicine, we are reinventing the traditional medical school curriculum for the 21st century.
As one of the nation's first completely digital, interactive learning environments, the iMedEd Initiative was created in 2010 to foster highly individualized and small-group learning that gives our students a richer medical school experience.
The program, targeted initially at first-year students, is transforming the classic lecturer-and-passive listener model by using digital textbooks, online curricula, audio and video libraries, podcasts. We also incorporate other technological advances, such as digital stethoscopes and portable ultrasound units.
Our pilot program uses Apple’s iPad to digitally house the entire first-year curriculum, outlines, handouts and essential textbooks. The device, which is provided to each entering student, also is loaded with hundreds of medical applications, note-taking and recording capabilities, along with many other tools that complement diverse learning styles.
The iPad makes it possible for students to review short, topic-based podcast lectures as often as desired and in preparation for small-group discussions.
The encrypted tablet serves is a platform for complementary technologies that enhance the curriculum. Students using digital stethoscopes can listen to a patient’s heart then transmit the audio and visual data for comparison with a library of heart beat sounds, allowing for better interpretation and increased comprehension.
The iMedEd Initiative also integrates portable ultrasound devices into the curriculum, giving students a noninvasive diagnostic tool to examine internal organs and blood flow. Specially designed iPad applications let students consult video tutorials while they perform bedside ultrasounds. This enables them to compare real-time findings with normal and abnormal sample examinations as well as track their own procedures for quality assurance.
We also having been working since 2014 to incorporate Google Glass into our curriculum.
Through the iMedEd Initiative, we are preparing future physicians to practice 21st-century medicine in an increasingly digital, highly mobile healthcare environment.