Incoming students at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine are getting iPads to study the human anatomy and white coats with a pocket that will hold the Apple tablets.
School of Medicine
at the University of Pennsylvania has announced it will equip
all incoming students with a third-generation iPad and a white coat with a
pocket that will fit the light and thin Apple tablet.
Students will use the iPad in classes, as well as
with patients in the hospital. The program involves 340 students, according to Penn
Medicine, which encompasses the University
of Pennsylvania Health System and Perelman. Founded in 1765, Perelman is the
nation's first medical school.
The school held a ceremony on Aug. 10 to award the
iPad-ready white coats to students.
By using the iPads, they'll be able to avoid using 20,000
sheets, or 40 reams of paper, for class notes, according to the medical school.
Students will use the tablets to view animated, full-color
images of human anatomy. They'll also receive updates to their course
curriculum in real time, Penn Medicine reported.
Over the past year, the school's curriculum office
organized a pilot project to test the functionality of the iPad for use in the
"I think the use of iPads is becoming very
important in the classroom and also the clinical setting," Jerome
Molleston, a third-year M.D./ Ph.D. student, said in a Penn
Medicine blog post
. Molleston was among the second- and third-year students
who tested the tablet over the past few months. "I've become a bit of an
evangelist for the iPad here at Perelman, as it's absolutely changed the way I
prepare for class, learn and collaborate with fellow students."
Students use resources such as First Consult,
which provides evidence-based answers to clinical questions at the point of
The iPad program at Penn is part of a growing
trend of iPad use at medical schools, including Stanford and Yale.
"It's been pretty much an unmitigated
success," Anna Delaney, the Perelman School of Medicine's chief
administrative officer for academic programs, told eWEEK.
"I was a little worried about it. I'm not going to
Delaney wanted both tech-savvy and
"Luddite" students for the pilot. The experiment involved leaving
behind black-and-white printouts of PDFs and replacing them with 3D color
animations on the iPad.
"It's hard to understand an organ when it's
black and white," said Delaney. "It just doesn't work."
Printing the whole animation also involved lugging
around a lot of paper, she added.
Now students are adjusting to watching cells split
in 3D on the iPad.
"It was hard for those students not used to
pattern recognition to adapt," said Delaney. "This has made it a lot
easier for them to manipulate images for their own learning."
By using the iPad to access studies and medical
journals, the tablet increases students' capabilities for critical thinking,
said Dr. Neal A. Rubinstein, Penn's associate professor of cell and
"The iPad is bringing a new dimension to my
teaching," said Rubinstein. "By getting rid of the limitations of
paper notes and books, I can teach students how to think critically and act on
their curiosity in a way I couldn't before. The textbook no longer defines our
students' educational experience."
A key benefit in using the iPad is the ability to view medical images and tables, according to Delaney.
Professors are able to work with students to build
touch-screen textbooks, called iBooks, on the iPad to view interactive
diagrams, photos and videos.
The touch-screen iBooks with their animated slide
decks, notes, images, videos and textbook links act as "one-stop
shopping," said Delaney.
Students are using iBooks to study areas such as cell
tissue, biochemistry, metabolism and neuroscience, said Delaney.
First- and second-year medical students are
currently the heavy iPad users at the school, said Delaney. Third-year students
are also joining the project, she said.
The students are using the iPad to review lecture
material, stream videos and present work in groups, she said. In cardiology courses,
students are given an electrocardiogram onscreen and asked to explain the
meaning of lines and bumps and relate it to the anatomy of the heart, said
They use a program called Box to
download materials and upload them to an app called GoodNotes
in which the students take notes, she said. They also can use other applications to take notes, Delaney added.
Students are using the iPad in exam rooms to show
diagrams of procedures to patients in advance of surgery.
In addition to 79
percent of doctors preferring the iPad
, according to research firm Aptilon,
the Apple device is the choice for medical students over competing tablets.
"In terms of the imaging, the iPad is far and
above the better product right now," said Delaney. "There will come a
time when there is a better alternative, probably, but we're not there right
now."Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify details about the iPad program at the Perelman School of Medicine.