by Laura Morrison, April 2014
A lot is expected of the physicians who work in the nation's hospitals. In addition to possessing knowledge of various medical conditions, doctors need to be compassionate and patient professionals.
However, as the health care industry is constantly evolving, it helps for students enrolled in medical school master's programs to work with the latest technology. This, in turn, may help prepare them for when they need to use these devices for medical purposes.
Recent years have seen medical settings upgrade their technology to provide care of a higher quality. For example, electronic health records are replacing paper records nationwide. Doing so cuts down on the chances of misreading handwritten doctor's notes or losing physical records in a fire or flood.
Then, there are the mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, which many physicians now use on the job. A 2013 report from Epocrates, a provider of mobile health applications, found that 86 percent of doctors used smartphones for work purposes, while 53 percent used tablet computers[i].
Due to these trends, medical school students should make sure they're familiar with EHRs and mobile technology before they graduate.
Google Glass, the Internet giant's wearable computer, is now available to the public. According to the product's website, the device has an array of features, from the ability to send a message to an easy way to pull up directions on the go[ii]. However, it's Google Glass' medical uses that have officials at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine interested.
Students enrolled in the medical school will use Google Glass throughout the curriculum, according to a university press release. From anatomy courses to hospital rotations, the ways in which students learn will take a technological turn[iii].
"Medical education has always been very visual and very demonstrative, and Glass has enormous potential to positively impact the way we can educate physicians in real time," said Dr. Warren Wiechmann, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of instructional technologies at the School of Medicine. "Indeed, all of medicine is based on 'seeing,' not 'reading,' the patient."
Outside of UC Irvine, actual physicians have also been exploring the medical value of Google Glass. In Boston, for example, four emergency room doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have been testing the technology, CNET reported[iv].
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[i] epocrates.com/oldsite/statistics/2013 Epocrates Mobile Trends Report_FINAL.pdf | [ii] google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/ | [iii] news.uci.edu/press-releases/uci-school-of-medicine-first-to-integrate-google-glass-into-curriculum/ | [iv] cnet.com/news/doctors-testing-google-glass-to-get-real-time-patient-data/