I was asked by the Association of American Medical Colleges to share my opinions about digital literacy with their readers. I was glad to participate and one line of mine got quite an attention through their social media channels: “Today’s medical professionals must be masters of different skills that are related to using digital devices or online solutions.” I remain confident that is it the case today. They also included the thoughts of one of the best clinician bloggers worldwide, Bryan S. Vartabedian, M.D from the 33 Charts blog.
An excerpt from the interview:
Bertalan Meskó, M.D., Ph.D., a medical futurist who travels the world consulting and lecturing on digital literacy in health care, frames digital literacy as “the way that medical professionals can use digital devices as well as online solutions in communication with patients and their peers.” Meskó believes that “today’s medical professionals must be masters of different skills that are related to using digital devices or online solutions” and argues that mastering those skills “is now a crucial skill set that all medical professionals require.”
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.