Tuesday, May 11, 2010

@hand: mobile technologies in academia + medicine

On April 21st I spent the day at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for "@hand: mobile technologies in academia + medicine", a symposium sponsored by the UMB Health Sciences and Human Services Library. The event began with a Keynote address from healthcare journalist Neil Versel, appropriately titled “Healthcare Here, There, and Everywhere”. The speakers that followed were divided into three sessions; Educational Uses of Mobil Technology, Clinical Uses of Mobile Technology, and Mobile Technology@UMB.

The two presentations in the session Educational Uses of Mobil Technology were most relevant to the non-clinical environment on the Homewood Campus.

“The IM Learning Initiative” at Shenandoah University presented by Dr. Wallace Marsh described their initiative to provide all of their students and faculty with a laptop (MacBook Pro) and iPod/iPhone, to get faculty & students on same platform/equipment. Dr. Marsh provided several examples of the advantages of having everyone using the same equipment; the most interesting one for me occurred this past February during snowmageddon. Even though the University physically closed for several days, the Pharmacy School continued to hold classes using live (Elluminate) and recorded (Camtasia Relay and placed on iTunesU) technologies and remained on schedule for the term. Only the lab courses had to be rescheduled with make-up sessions. This would be a huge advantage to any institution, for any emergency closure. The possibilities of planning for a pandemic immediately came to my mind.

Megan von Isenburg from Duke University Medical Center Library presented “The Kindle: A Novel Way to Increase Access to Information” and taught me a few things I did not know about the Kindle. There are several course related books for students available on the Kindle, and the Kindle is able to search some web-based resources (resource-poor sites). The study provided a Kindle to students and preceptors during a Family Medicine rotation. In an academic setting the Kindle proved to be adequate for providing information, but was identified as intolerable in the clinical setting. Important issues to consider that were addressed: know your audience and know what devices they already own. Is your audience willing and flexible to incorporate new devices into their workflow? Know your content and know what you want your audience to have access to. What materials are available for your specific device? And of course faculty involvement is extremely important. Duke University Medical Center Library plans to use the iPod/iPhone in their next study.

In addition to the presentations, there were also a few exhibitors, most notably Apple providing iPads for attendees to try. Blackboard Mobile was there showing their applications for Blackberry and iPod/iPhone. EBSCOhost Mobile was there showing their application designed especially for the smaller screens of mobile devices. Mobile MedlinePlus was also there showing their consumer focused mobile application from the National Library of Medicine.

The remaining talks are listed below. If you have any questions about this event, please contact me and I will be happy to discuss the sessions with you.


Clinical Uses of Mobile Technology

  • Incorporation of handheld computing to a 4 year medical school curriculum
  • Mobile MedlinePlus: Health Information On-the-Go
  • Mobile for the Millennial Medical Student

Mobile Technology @ UMB

  • UMMS Medical Encyclopedia iPhone App: The Journey from Idea to iTunes
  • Development of Mobile Applications for the UMB Dental School
  • HS/HSL Web App for the iPhone

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