As modern medicine advances, so does the way medical students learn to practice medicine. It used to be that a medical student had to track their own progress and handwrite their notes. But new technology like tablet-based Clinical Activity and Rotation Log (CARL) is changing the way med students learn and retain notes on their patients and their training.

Hands-on

CARL is one of the ways American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS), a medical school in St. Maarten, is helping their medical students learn both in the classroom and in medical settings, like during hospital clerkships.

“We wanted to make sure we created a tool that’s useful today for students and one that will be useful tomorrow,” says Richard Levy, AUIS’ President of Assessment Engineering. “One that will follow them from being students to being doctors.”

Standardizing learning

AUIS invested in the technology because it gives them “the ability to manage, monitor and maintain compliance with the course curriculum and course objectives during a critical phase of study,” says Milo Pinckney, the CEO of AUIS. He notes the program standardizes the learning process for students completing their clerkships at different medical facilities throughout the U.S.

“Technology is the big communicator for this generation. Having immediate communicative feedback is a huge advantage for our student population.”

CARL uses GPS to track the student’s time at the clinic. It also keeps notes of student interactions with patients and emails the student those clinical rotation records. All the information saved is not personally identifiable to a patient.

Students can also receive individualized feedback from the medical doctor overseeing their studies, known as their preceptor. Plus the platform allows students to quickly and conveniently contact their clinical director straight from the device.

“Technology is the big communicator for this generation,” says Nic Capomacchia, AUIS’ Director of IMG Clerkships, explaining students prefer emails and texts to phone calls. “Having immediate communicative feedback is a huge advantage for our student population.”

Today and tomorrow

Technology in the modern medical classroom also includes simulators to mimic eyes, teeth and veins. These simulated learning experiences teach students medicine in close-to-authentic situations and helps professor and medical supervisors better teach and evaluate students.

For example, iStan, a wireless patient simulator mimics a human’s cardiovascular, neurological and respiratory systems. OtoSim is a hands-on simulator showing med students how to diagnose and treat eye problems.

A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Institute for Improving Medical Education acknowledges how “educational technologies have enhanced teaching and learning in medical education” and says, “technologies will continue to evolve and become further integrated into all facets of our professional and personal settings.”

AAMC notes some of the educational technology benefits, including safe, controlled environments to eliminating risk to patients, documentation of learner behavior and outcomes and standardization of instruction and assessment.

Programs like CARL may also help reduce the number of malpractice cases because it proves such extensive medical documentation. “Our job is to prepare students to not just to pass examinations, but to be qualified, capable and dynamic physicians,” says Pinckney, explaining a broad base of learning will help students succeed. “They have to be faster, quicker, brighter and more dynamic than their competitors.”