Study: Mobile devices enhance radiology residency programs

Radiology residents receive multiple benefits from iPads and other mobile devices, and should be so equipped, according to an opinion article published in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

The problem, according to Harprit Bedi, M.D., and Edgar Yucel, M.D.--both of Tufts Medical Center in Boston--is that many residency programs don't have a clear understanding or vision of how mobile devices can help enhance resident education. According to Bedi and Yucel, it's clear these devices make reading journal article and textbooks convenient, but the question is whether they also can enhance the educational experience of residents, make the jobs of residency administrators and directors easier, and provide programs with a way of being more creative and visionary. The answer, they write, is "Yes. Yes. Yes."

For the purpose of the study, 22 Tufts Medical Center residents were given iPads and asked to fill out surveys about their study habits--one survey before they started using the iPads and the same survey after they had been using the iPads for six months.

The surveys showed that learning with electronic sources accounted for most of the time studying, and that the amount of time residents spent studying also increased.

As far as administering residency programs, the researchers determined that using mobile devices can in several ways, including documentation, note-taking, calendars, communicating and evaluation residents. Such tools also can enhance education by assisting residents with image interpretation; helping them capture and store lectures electronically; allowing them access journals, textbooks, websites and podcasts electronically; and providing them with case-based learning.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American College of Radiology found that residents at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston mainly used iPads as an educational tool, and that the full impact of such tools on resident education will depend on the development of applications that harness the unique ability of the medium for training the next generation of radiologists.

To learn more:
- see the article in the American Journal of Roentgenology