Technology in medicine
“What are the cardinal signs of cardiac tamponade?” I often begin my student supervisions with a clinical question, and this day was no exception.
“Just a second,” a student said. Without hesitation, he reached into his pocket, extracted his phone, and did a rapid search on the topic. “Raised jugular venous pressure, hypotension, and muffled heart sounds,” he declared. I assumed that he was just being facetious, but on reflection I realised that there is more to it than that.
Some universities offer gadgets as tools to “enhance” training for the learner. One institution has loaned smartphones to all fourth and final year medical students for the duration of their academic year.1 The reasoning being is that students will have easy access to electronic manuals, definitions, and prescription guidelines. The smartphones would replace textbooks, which are less practical on the wards.
Educators argue that such a tool will promote active,