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UK Medical Students Issued with iPhones for Study Purposes

The University of Leeds has announced that it is issuing smartphones to all fourth and fifth year medical students. The iPhones will provide access to progress files, assessment modules and educational materials.

According to the University, this is the first time a UK medical school has provided undergraduates with all the tools they need to study off campus via mobile phone technology.

520 medical students will be loaned an iPhone 3GS 16GB for the remainder of their course. The phones will be pre-loaded with a range of apps that will enable students to record notes on interesting cases whilst still on the wards, and test their knowledge of procedures they have just observed.  Key medical textbooks and reference works, including guidelines on administering prescription drugs, will also be distributed as iPhone apps. A range of other relevant medical apps that can be downloaded free-of-charge or purchased will also be available.

Students will not be able to use the devices to access confidential patient databases and any case notes added to progress files will be anonymised.  Lost or stolen phones will be wiped and disabled remotely. All devices are to be returned to the medical school before students graduate.

“Patient safety has been our primary aim in this development,” said Dr Richard Fuller, Director of the University of Leeds MBChB course. “By linking workplace learning and assessment in mobile technology formats, we have a groundbreaking opportunity to provide instant, timely and detailed feedback to students in practice from patients, peers and clinical staff.  By recording this feedback, it allows students to review, plan and ‘feed-forward’ with tutors to ensure their development as safe, effective doctors.”