It costs >£250k to train a Doctor so why would you question the value of putting up to date Medical Reference and Text books on their smartphones?

BMC Mobile technology supporting trainee doctors’ workplace learning and patient care: an evaluation

A variety of information sources are used regularly in the workplace. Colleagues are used daily but seniors are not always available. During transitions, constant access to the electronic library was valued. It helped prepare trainee doctors for discussions with their seniors, assisting the interchange between explicit and tacit knowledge.

By supporting accurate prescribing and treatment planning, the electronic library contributed to enhanced patient care. Trainees were more rapidly able to medicate patients to reduce pain and more quickly call for specific assessments. However, clinical decision-making often requires dialogue: what Smartphone technology can do is augment, not replace, discussion with their colleagues in the community of practice

Some research has been published on the findings from the Welsh Deanery’s “iDoc” project in the BMC Medical Education Journal by Wendy Hardyman, Alison Bullock and Alice Brown at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences, Sophie Carter-Ingram at the London Deanery and Mark Stacey at the Cardiff University’s postgraduate Medical School.

I’ve been a big fan of the iDoc project as a few years down the road it still amazes me that consumer mobile tech that we can buy in the high street makes it possible to put all of the latest copies of the following key medical text books into a single searchable app in a Trainee Doctors smartphone:

> BNF
> Chemical Laboratory references
> Classification of Surgical Operations and Procedures (OPCS 4)
> Clinical Evidence
> Cochrane Abstracts
> Harrison’s Manual of Medicine
> International Classification of Diseases 10 (ICD 10)
> Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy
> NICE Guidance Compilation
> Oxford Handbook for the Foundation Programme
> Oxford Handbook of Clinical Laboratory Investigations
> Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine
> Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties
> Oxford Handbook of Clinical Surgery
> Register of Patient Organisations in the UK
> Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
> Stockley’s Drug Interactions

Doctor Companion, a popular mHealth application

My thoughts:

I’m amazed that the authors haven’t pointed to ways that smartphones can and are helping to improve the quality of discussions trainees have with their colleagues (the need to ask questions is somewhat diminished when you’ve got access to practically every single bit of reference material in your pocket) or the alternatives (eg. out of date books that it would be impractical to carry at all times).

I’m surprised that the authors think readers need to be told that Smartphone technology won’t replace other sources of information. Is someone really daft enough to be making this argument?

In 2013 when you can carry a suitcase of your familiar medical text books in the phone in your pocket do we really need any more research papers to be published asking if this is valuable or not?

If there’s any research needed it should be focused on the quality of the work of Doctors who don’t have access to up to date resources. Hopefully by the time that gets done and published clinical leaders who are concerned about patient safety and the quality of their colleagues work will have made access to these resources a mandatory requirement for a Doctor to practice.

Albert Einstein Never Memorize something you can look up

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3 Responses to It costs >£250k to train a Doctor so why would you question the value of putting up to date Medical Reference and Text books on their smartphones?

  1. Reblogged this on Ideas To Share and commented:
    Facilitated learning starts at med school. Why not have medical textbooks content accessible on devices. It could level the playing fields wrt upto date info – especially important now the cost if medical education are so high to the students

  2. Pingback: If you attend a Medical School that still doesn’t use mobile tools the data now shows that they are failing you « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

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