UK med school pushes patient safety with iPhones

American medical schools have been doing this for a few years now, but the University of Leeds says it recently became the first in the UK to outfit each of its med students with the iPhone 3G S. (Maybe they couldn't get their hands on 500-plus iPhone 4s?)

University officials say students will use the phones to record case notes while rounding in the hospital, keep electronic copies of reference materials, stay current with medical guidelines and simply to get on the Internet. They also hope the smartphones will help students keep in touch with the hospital when training at off-campus healthcare sites.

What the students will not get is access to patient-specific databases, however, and the case notes they record will be anonymized, E-Health Insider reports.

"Patient safety has been our primary aim in this development," Dr Richard Fuller, director of the University of Leeds medicine and surgery course, tells the publication. "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."

Leeds officials also expect the iPhones to help improve infection control because they can be cleaned with antiseptic wipes.

To learn more about this project:
- take a look at this E-Health Insider story

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