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PLoS One. 2017 Apr 3;12(4):e0172827. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172827. eCollection 2017.

Tablet computer enhanced training improves internal medicine exam performance.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Charité Medical School, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
2
Department for Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Charité Medical School, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Traditional teaching concepts in medical education do not take full advantage of current information technology. We aimed to objectively determine the impact of Tablet PC enhanced training on learning experience and MKSAP® (medical knowledge self-assessment program) exam performance.

METHODS:

In this single center, prospective, controlled study final year medical students and medical residents doing an inpatient service rotation were alternatingly assigned to either the active test (Tablet PC with custom multimedia education software package) or traditional education (control) group, respectively. All completed an extensive questionnaire to collect their socio-demographic data, evaluate educational status, computer affinity and skills, problem solving, eLearning knowledge and self-rated medical knowledge. Both groups were MKSAP® tested at the beginning and the end of their rotation. The MKSAP® score at the final exam was the primary endpoint.

RESULTS:

Data of 55 (tablet n = 24, controls n = 31) male 36.4%, median age 28 years, 65.5% students, were evaluable. The mean MKSAP® score improved in the tablet PC (score Δ + 8 SD: 11), but not the control group (score Δ- 7, SD: 11), respectively. After adjustment for baseline score and confounders the Tablet PC group showed on average 11% better MKSAP® test results compared to the control group (p<0.001). The most commonly used resources for medical problem solving were journal articles looked up on PubMed or Google®, and books.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study provides evidence, that tablet computer based integrated training and clinical practice enhances medical education and exam performance. Larger, multicenter trials are required to independently validate our data. Residency and fellowship directors are encouraged to consider adding portable computer devices, multimedia content and introduce blended learning to their respective training programs.

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