Monica T Young, MD, Michael Sgroi, MD, Stephen P Schale, BS, Esther Jun, BA, Julie H Youm, PhD, Warren Wiechmann, MD, MBA, Michael J Stamos, MD, Jill Endres, MD. Department of Surgery, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Orange, California.
The 80-hour workweek has necessitated a shift in surgical training toward better utilization of time outside the operating room. Tablets provide immense potential to complement the surgical trainee’s experience by providing just-in-time access to clinical resources. A digital curriculum can assist in all aspects of education, particularly in learning laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures. We hypothesize that by providing iPads to surgical residents with an organized digital curriculum, their access to quality references will improve, resulting in increased clinical efficiency, higher American Board of Surgery In-Training Exam (ABSITE) Scores and better patient education.
Description of Methods:
iPad tablets were distributed to all residents and fellows in our general surgery program. Specifically tailored iTunes U courses were constructed for each surgical rotation. Once enrolled in the courses, each resident was given access to a digital course curriculum. These course curriculums include goals and objectives tailored toward each Post Graduate Year level, academic materials chosen by attending faculty, key published articles, and links to recommended Surgical Council on Resident Education (SCORE) modules. Courses pertaining to laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery include technical videos that are high quality and have been selected by minimally invasive surgeons. Rather than utilizing unreliable resources, our residents and fellows now have easy access to credible media that can be viewed instantaneously on a tablet.
A survey was handed out to all residents prior to iPad distribution. Of 31 completed surveys, 100% stated they used a smartphone and 90% stated they used their smartphone for clinical applications. 68% of residents agreed or strongly agreed that an iPad would add significant value to their current workflow. 71% stated that they currently use applications on their smartphone or tablet to perform clinical work such as looking up labs or writing electronic orders. 71% agreed or strongly agreed that an iPad would improve their ABSITE scores. Only 19% had concern about how to learn to use their iPad. Resident utilization of the educational material provided on their tablets will be followed with interval questionnaires, clinical observation, and ABSITE score analysis.
The iPad tablet and iTunes U platform for organizing educational resources provides a mobile and innovative method of surgical training. Preliminary results show that the majority of residents are already utilizing mobile applications to assist with their clinical workflow. A digital curriculum can provide quality references and media to aid in training a new generation of surgical residents and fellows.