White coats with big pockets

Looks like it’s a good time to be in medical school – first year students at Stanford University and at the University of California Irvine are getting iPads on arrival with preloaded information to help study for first year. 

At UCI, the curriculum has been entirely changed to fit the iPad and they’re pushing the digital learning environment heavily. All the iPads are preloaded with medical apps, and lectures are podcasted for access anywhere, not to mention the slides themselves also on the device. Then check out this line:

 And technological advances such as digital stethoscopes and handheld ultrasound units are currently being configured.”

Awesome. They can listen to a murmur and save it on the iPad to listen to later, or ask someone else for an opinion. And since portable ultrasound looks like it may be the future of the stethoscope, the iPad may end up being the perfect storage unit and screen to carry around. 

Stanford are also handing out the iPads, with lecture slides and videos, and even a virtual cadaver for dissection. 

It’s not just the US either – in Australia, the Victorian State Government are planning on handing out 500 iPads to nurses and graduate doctors as part of a pilot program to run web-based applications. 

It’s great that we’re bringing more technology into the medical world, especially when it allows access to information anywhere (as we saw with the idea from Airstrip). There’s no doubt that mobile computing is going to hit medicine in a big way, but is the iPad the unit to do it? On the positive, it’s simple to use, a huge amount of people know how to use it (thanks to the iPhone), and it’s available everywhere – but it doesn’t run Flash, has quite a few developer restrictions, and may be slowly being overtaken by Google’s Android.

What do you guys think? Is this what you would want for your hospital or university? Have you got an iPad and found it useful? Let us know in the comments, but in the meantime, read about UCI here, Stanford here, and the Victorian government’s plans here

IMAGE: Apple


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