Published on March 21st, 2013 | by admin


Using Technology to Teach Medicine

In the last ten years or so, medical educators and learners have seen a dramatic rise in the amount of technology-based teaching tools being used for health educational purposes and assessment. This has come about largely because of a worldwide concern with medical safety and the need to make certain improvements within the medical field, as well as the many changes in healthcare delivery.

These technologies have, in a way, revolutionized the medical learning environment in the sense that they provide an easily accessible way to simulate and reproduce real-life medical scenarios and clinical conditions to benefit the students further. One main advantage in the progress of technology and the utilization of computer-based technologies in learning is the fact that students can be more effectively assessed across numerous domains.

Computer-Aided Instruction

This is a highly innovative type of technology that is solely applicable to the teaching of medicine, and involves educational instruction, which is very much computer-based. In other words, it is the delivery of medical information to students by making use of computers. This type of technology is not the same as certain other computer-based learning applications like PowerPoint, in the sense that it operates more directly. By using Internet technologies — web-based learning, which has come to mean so much in the educating of students — human lecturers could be, in some ways, replaced. CAI gives students the chance to explore the field independently, and remains accessible and low in costs. This type of technology will often make use of both stand-alone materials and web-based applications.

Virtual Patients

This type of technology can be most effectively defined as a computer-based program that operates by stimulating true-to-life medical scenarios by simulating the physical world, introducing medical students with (near) real-life situations without the risks. This technology is useful for learners, as it allows them to obtain a certain amount of experience, learn how to make decisions, and even sit in on any number of physical exams. It involves the simulation of multiple aspects of a clinical environment for students to benefit from, and is very easily accessible. Of course, it falls short on account of its lack in physical interactivity and high costs. Generally, computer program-based virtual patients provide medical learners to enter into the role of healthcare providers and learn with a more hands-on approach.

Human Patient Simulation

This technology works in a similar way to the above, in the sense that it provides learners with the ability to enter into a real-life medical scenario. HPS provides medical learning environments with models and mannequins with which learners can obtain a certain amount of healthcare providing experience. This technology is most useful for medical educating in the sense that it sets up learners with a good tool for instruction and assessment. It is highly immersive and gives students the chance to be active in their learning. The high cost and space requirements make this quite a difficult piece of technology to put into operation. Tools required include task-based trainers, such as virtual reality colonoscopy trainers, which simulate a wide range of medical tasks to educate and prepare students as effectively as possible.

Computer-based medical simulators have done extraordinarily well in implementing themselves among the educational tools that have played a part in the world of medicine for years. Due to the huge technological advances evident, learning can be effectively facilitated, and medical training can be, in many ways, improved, while students can benefit in a myriad of different ways. These technologies have succeeding in bridging a wide range of medical professions, spanning educational levels and inspiring countless educators and students alike.

Author Bio: William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to the field of technology. In this article, he describes a few health technologies and aims to encourage further study with an online bachelors in nursing.

About the Author

Back to Top ↑