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Med Teach. 2018 Nov 28:1-16. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1508829. [Epub ahead of print]

A Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) systematic review of: What works best for health professions students using mobile (hand-held) devices for educational support on clinical placements? BEME Guide No. 52.

Author information

1
a Department of Public Health & Policy , The University of Liverpool , Liverpool , UK.
2
b School of Medicine , The University of Liverpool , Liverpool , UK.
3
c Department of Medical Education & Physiology, College of Medicine , Gulf Medical University , Ajman , United Arab Emirates.
4
d Department of Medical Informatics and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine , Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy , Cluj Napoca , Romania.
5
e Harold Cohen Library , The University of Liverpool , Liverpool , UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Ingrained assumptions about clinical placements (clerkships) for health professions students pursuing primary basic qualifications might undermine best educational use of mobile devices.

QUESTION:

What works best for health professions students using mobile (hand-held) devices for educational support on clinical placements?

METHODS:

A Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) effectiveness-review of "justification" complemented by "clarification" and "description" research searched: MEDLINE, Educational Resource Information Center, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycInfo, Cochrane Central, Scopus (1988-2016). Reviewer-pairs screened titles/abstracts. One pair coded, extracted, and synthesized evidence, working within the pragmatism paradigm.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS:

From screening 2279 abstracts, 49 articles met inclusion-criteria, counting four systematic reviews for context. The 45 articles of at least Kirkpatrick K2 primary research mostly contributed K3 (39/45, 86.7%), mixed methods (21/45, 46.7%), and S3-strength (just over one-half) evidence. Mobile devices particularly supported student: assessment; communication; clinical decision-making; logbook/notetaking; and accessing information (in about two-thirds). Informal and hidden curricula included: concerns about: disapproval; confidentiality and privacy; security;-distraction by social connectivity and busy clinical settings; and mixed messages about policy.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:

This idiosyncratic evidence-base of modest robustness suggested that mobile devices provide potentially powerful educational support on clinical placement, particularly with student transitions, metalearning, and care contribution. Explicit policy must tackle informal and hidden curricula though, addressing concerns about transgressions.

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