When Jose Carrillo went through medical school at Dartmouth College a decade ago, students would have thick books weighing down their white coats with reference information in case they needed it while making rounds.
Palm Pilots were big at the time, and there was some interest in using the devices in the medical field because they could run programs that included some of the information in the books. In later versions, the gadgets could beam information back and forth to one another wirelessly, and they even got color screens after he graduated, Carrillo remembers.
Technology marches on, and the iPad he uses today bears little resemblance to those earlier handhelds.
“We were so jazzed about those. Looking back at what that old Palm Pilot did in comparison to these,” Carrillo said, noting that the company that made it is long gone—”it was nothing.”
Today, Carrillo is helping third-year medical students understand neurology at UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif., their white coats weighed down by a gadget much larger and heavier than the Palm Pilot. But loaded on the iPads in the pockets of the medical students’ coats is every textbook, note, flash card, and question from their first two years of medical school—so much information that its equal in printed copies once covered entire tables.
All that information sits on the iPad, along with an app that can access the electronic medical records of patients whom students interact with on their rounds, as well as the entirety of web resources.
Apple recently singled out UCI’s trailblazing iMedEd Initiative as a distinguished program for its use of the company’s tablets. In addition, the medical school announced a 23-percent increase in scores, on average, on the initial test for a medical license taken by the first class to get iPads.
(Next page: What the school has learned; where its program goes from here)