Aug. 16, 2010
PowerUP program wires future doctors
This week, along with receiving their white coats and identification badges, first-year medical students in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will also be the school's first class to pick up Dell laptops specially configured for use with their curriculum.
The students' orientation will include a special "tech time" to introduce them to their new devices and the university's computer environment.
The laptop program is titled "PowerUP" (http://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/it/powerup.html). The technology enables a number of uses, including small group collaborations, in-class student response systems, and computer-based testing. The laptops have Microsoft Office 2010 installed and have built-in microphones and cameras for use in online, real-time learning environments.
Chris Cooper, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and curriculum, says students arrive on campus as "digital natives" and expect sophisticated systems to support their learning.
"Our students request and expect state-of-the-art instructional tools and digital course content," Cooper said. "The PowerUP program provides our students a high-quality laptop computer at a reasonable price, with technical support immediately available within our students' home base: the Medical Education and Research Facility."
Through their laptops, the students will have access to an online toolbox that provides UI enterprise applications such as Iowa Courses Online and the Iowa Student Information System as well as a number of Medical databases available via the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. They will also have access to new UI services for: student portfolios (Ifolio), lecture capture (UI Capture), virtual classrooms (Elluminate Live), virtual microscopy laboratories (The Virtual SlideBox), and an electronic medical record learning environment (Epic Playground).
To support the students, a new team has been formed to manage a special Windows 7 image for PowerUp systems and provides a walk-up support center. This team offers the orientation, training and ongoing consultation with students and faculty on ways to use the laptops in the curriculum.
UI Carver College of Medicine Dean Paul Rothman, M.D., says that the PowerUP program represents the recognition of a number of trends, such as health care's increasing dependence on managing digital information.
"We are committed to training high caliber physicians and this program helps us integrate the use of technology into the curriculum at an earlier stage in the student physician's development," said Rothman.
The program is also a green initiative that benefits the environment by significantly reducing paper use and providing consistent access to electronic versions of class notes and presentations. "Our goal is to become a paperless organization, and the PowerUP program is one step at doing this," added Rothman.
PowerUP is just an evolutionary technology step for these students. According to Rothman, "Over their careers, one of the most important tools these future physicians will use is informatics, and they will carry a device in their pockets that contains a medical reference library and provides access to a detailed, voluminous medical record information for each of their patients."
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