Although modern digital tools are innovating health care facilities, most medical schools aren’t keeping pace. If they don’t adequately cover emerging technologies, they won’t prepare students to enter the workforce.
Are Medical Schools Utilising Emerging Technology?
Even though medical schools could significantly benefit from implementing emerging technology, most institutions still fail to utilize them, or teach about them, sufficiently. Instead, they rely on traditional teaching methods. Compared to other education sectors, health care lags.
Even though some take full advantage of tools, there is no standard for integration or use. For example, while anatomy-related disciplines extensively use VR in education, topics like rehabilitation don’t receive the same attention. Since many instructors don’t cover modern technology, student physicians ultimately enter their careers without vital knowledge.
Why Does It Matter if Medical Schools Use Emerging Technology?
Medical schools must leverage emerging technology because it impacts the health care sector. Its future depends on upcoming professionals who prepare adequately, which they can’t do without access to modern tools. Most institutions don’t yet teach about or implement them in the classroom, even though many have become staples in actual practices.
According to an industry expert, more institutions must prioritize the latest technology to remain relevant in a rapidly adapting field. They claim most don’t teach enough, resulting in pervasive knowledge gaps across the entire sector. Everyone must learn how to use them to optimize their effectiveness.
Although tools like virtual reality are mostly practical in educational scenarios, some modern versions remain helpful in practice. For instance, the widespread adoption of AI in hospitals necessitates thorough training in medical school — students can only leverage innovations in their careers if they understand how to use them.
As rapid advancements revolutionize practices, institutions that don’t keep up put future professionals at a disadvantage. Only a fraction of students’ knowledge from their first three years in medical school will remain relevant. They will quickly fall behind their counterparts unless they leverage the latest medical technology.
How Should Medical Schools Teach About Technology?
Medical schools should ensure students have a general understanding and teach them how to use the latest technology.
1. Electronic Health Records
While most health care facilities use EHR, they’re often overly complex, making physicians’ jobs more challenging. Many educational institutions cover them but do not adequately train students on them, resulting in poor professional optimization.
If people receive proper training while in school, their career transition will be much smoother. For example, onboarding took 66% less time for one institution after integrating digital tools into its traditional EHR education.
2. Extended Reality
Extended reality is a revolutionary tool for the medical field because it lets students participate in hands-on learning in a low-stakes environment. To teach about this technology, schools must incorporate it into their lessons. Although students may not use virtual, augmented or mixed reality when interacting with patients directly, they can use it during the diagnostic process or to collaborate with their co-workers.
Even if instructors don’t go into depth on the variety of applications, they can incorporate these tools into their teachings because they enhance the learning environment. For instance, one study found mixed reality increases student engagement and creates additional learning opportunities.
3. Artificial Intelligence
AI has revolutionized medicine and is among the most innovative technologies in the health care sector. In response, schools must cover its use cases, risks and benefits before students enter their careers and begin using it.
COVID-19 brought forth a telehealth revolution and the sector will likely not return. Since many patients prefer the convenience of remote interactions, future providers will likely utilize the technology often in their day-to-day. As a result, their schools should teach them how to use it properly.
An easy way to do so is to leverage it during lessons. One report revealed students experienced much higher satisfaction rates using remote learning technology because they could review material and progress at their discretion. Once they familiarize themselves with the technology from a patient’s and provider’s point of view, they’re more likely to use it successfully.
5. Computer-Assisted Learning
Although medical professionals typically utilize CAL in educational settings, it is an excellent visualization tool for actual practice. In fact, nearly 99% of medical students felt they achieved greater success using it. Schools must teach them how to leverage CAL and in what settings it would be beneficial.
To What Extent Should Schools Involve Technology?
Medical schools should thoroughly involve emerging technologies in most aspects of students’ education. To be clear, it shouldn’t replace current instruction methods — it should enhance them. Tools like AI, VR and CAL exist to act as support, not to replace professional instruction.
Hands-on learning is still meaningful — even virtual patients cannot replicate a real-life situation’s raw emotions and high stakes. Experts recommend institutions combine in-person experiences with technology to take an integrated approach to modern medical education.
Schools must cover the benefits, challenges and applications of relevant digital tools. Since hands-on learning is essential to health care, they should train students to use them.
Countless studies have proved the benefits of incorporating modern digital tools into the classroom, so the question is about how schools can utilize them rather than if they should. While instructors should leverage them to enhance the learning environment, they still must direct lessons and remain attentive. After all, technology is only as effective as the user.
Many institutions are wary of incorporating modern devices since they require extensive funds, framework disruption and an expert. Even though some may face financial or physical integration limitations, integration is still essential. If partnerships are possible, they should connect with others to pool resources.
The Importance of Technology
While medical facilities quickly incorporate the latest digital advancements, educational institutions must be more proactive in their approaches. Future health care professionals can only prepare for the reality of their careers if they understand the technologies they will use.
By Devin Partida, Rehack
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