Medical curriculum worldwide cannot meet the needs of today’s e-patients and technologies any more, therefore there is time for a substantial change. Good examples are sporadic but at least exist. At Monash University, they developed a kit of 3D-printed anatomical body parts to revolutionize medical education and training. I studied anatomy when I was a medical student from books with tiny font sizes and old atlases. Here is how it can be a different experience.
The 3D Printed Anatomy Series kit, to go on sale later this year, could have particular impact in developing countries where cadavers aren’t readily available, or are prohibited for cultural or religious reasons. After scanning real anatomical specimens with either a CT or surface laser scanner, the body parts are 3D printed either in a plaster-like powder or in plastic, resulting in high resolution, accurate color reproductions.
Moreover, in the Netherlands, a 3D bioprinting Masters program was just introduced and now they plan to become a global centre of bioprinting. This is how medical schools and institutions worldwide should aim at adopting new technologies. This is what the main organizer said:
“There will be 120 researchers completely dedicated to regenerative medicine and biofabrication. Our main work within the bioprinting facility in the early stages is on cartilage and underlying bones. For this type of biological structures, bioprinting technologies are mature and the development of bioinks is taking off exponentially. Our goal is to create a hub of knowledge focused on Utrecht while reaching out to the international scientific community.”
If we don’t change curriculum worldwide, it will be late to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.
The UC Irvine medical school in California made a good decision and started experimenting with using augmented reality in the classrooms by giving medical students Google Glasses which might help them with anatomy, clinical skills, and hospital rotations.
As someone living with such digital technologies, I have to say if it is used in the right way, it will truly improve their chance for better studying the art of medicine, as well as their scores. Why not incorporating these in the traditional curriculum if they can add clear value to education?
Irvine will be the first medical school to fully incorporate Glass into its four-year curriculum. Its first- and second-year students will use the device in their anatomy and clinical skills courses, while third- and fourth-year students will wear Glass during their hospital rotations.
“I believe digital technology will let us bring a more impactful and relevant clinical learning experience to our students,” UC Irvine’s dean of medicine Dr. Ralph V. Clayman said in a statement. “Enabling our students to become adept at a variety of digital technologies fits perfectly into the ongoing evolution of healthcare into a more personalized, participatory, home-based and digitally driven endeavor.”
I’m very excited to announce that this semester we launch a new course, “Disruptive Technologies in Medicine” with Professor Maria Judit Molnar MD, PhD, DSc, the scientific Vice Rector of Semmelweis University. Our plan is to prepare medical students for those future technologies they will face by the time they start actually practicing medicine. I want to persuade them that the relation between the human touch and technologies is AND instead of OR.
Here are the topics we will cover with experts.
- How Exponential and Disruptive Technologies Shape The Future of Medicine
- Personalized Medicine – Genomic Health
- Point of Care Diagnostics
- The Future of Medical Imaging
- Social Media in Medicine
- Harnessing Big Data in Healthcare
- Biotechnology and Gene Therapy
- Mobile Health and Telemedicine
- Regenerative Medicine, Optogenetics and 3D Printing
- Medical Robotics, Bionics, Virtual Reality, and Future of Medical Technologies
We are going to teach them offline and online at the same time with plenty of assignments and interesting projects such as collaboration with the students of the course of Kim Solez at University of Alberta.
Feel free to follow all the developments and announcements of the course on Facebook. All the seats are already taken by international students. This is going to be an amazing semester!
Again, I wish I was a medical student now. To show you another reason why, the New Scientist just released a video in which layers of stretchy skin, hard bone and jelly-like tumour in a 3D-printed model skull give surgeons an experience that feels just like the real thing.
I recently gave a talk about the future of medicine at the event of the Association of Academic Health Centers and a professor from the Eastern Virginia Medical School shared a great video about the future of medical schools. One of the reasons why I would love to be a medical student now.
Future medical students will train collaboratively with others in the health professions, mirroring the cross-disciplinary approach that will be integral to the clinical environment of the future. Enhanced technology will allow for more efficient referrals, faster consults and more thorough transitions of care, thus improving patient safety and outcomes.
These advances will allow health-care providers to spend more time developing a strong relationship with their patients. After all, there is no substitute for human interaction — learning a patient’s story, understanding her needs, and developing a course of treatment with her that optimizes her health.
Cardiology is a key area that could use some refreshments regarding the tools and devices used to teach its anatomy and physiology in the medical curriculum.
Based on a patient’s CT scan and using a mix of stereo lithography and other prototyping techniques, xCardio creates a copy of a human heart that is anatomically correct both inside and out.
While the main purpose of a new game, Relive, is to increase the awareness about CPR and push people, especially teenagers and young adults, to take a CPR class and be prepared to intervene in case of need.
See 6 Reasons Why I Wish I Was a Medical Student Now and how Synthetic Human Cadavers could be used in medical education.
It’s not so surprising that simulation will play an increasingly important part in medical education. I covered this topic in my recent The Guide to the Future of Medicine white paper as well. As a next step, here are some synthetic human cadavers which could make medical students forget about the formaldehyde exposure in anatomy labs and replace traditional techniques in education.
“It (the synthetic cadaver) has a heart that beats and blood flows. It has a liver that can make bile, so you can imagine, procedural-wise, this is profound,” Flynn explained.
SynDaver Labs also created the world’s most sophisticated synthetic human tissues and body parts, which means medical schools and laboratories can reduce or eliminate live animals, cadavers and human patients in clinical training and surgical simulation.
My mission is to bring digital knowledge to medical students therefore preparing them for the world full of digital technologies that is coming. This is why I launched the world’s first university course focusing on social media and mobile health for medical students in 2008. Here are a few ways how I try to teach them:
- There is a real credit course at Semmelweis Medical School where I have courses in English and in Hungarian. I try to teach them digital literacy through spectacular and engaging presentations.
- They can answer questions about the topics covered in the lectures on Facebook to gather bonus points for the exam.
- There is an e-learning platform so then any medical student or professional worldwide can access the materials and take the tests for the certification.
- Students get credits for creating medical blogs, Twitter profiles or Wikipedia entries.
As you can see, following the “If you want to teach me, you first have to reach me” approach, I do everything I can to get the message across: every medical professional will be affected by online medical communication.
The Social MEDia Course
This is why I was very glad when Symplur contacted me about a potential collaboration. Let’s create a new hashtag #HCSMcourse referring to the widely used healthcare social media (#HCSM) hashtag. This new hashtag would focus on two goals:
- To collect all materials, concepts and ideas about teaching social media in medical education.
- To give students a chance to belong to a global community even after graduating from medical school.
As Twitter is my main communication channel these days, I cannot wait to exploit this idea in even more details.