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Use of Mobile Learning by Resident Physicians in Botswana



With the growth of mobile health in recent years, learning through the use of mobile devices (mobile learning [mLearning]) has gained recognition as a potential method for increasing healthcare providers' access to medical information and resources in resource-limited settings. In partnership with the University of Botswana School of Medicine (SOM), we have been exploring the role of smartphone-based mLearning with resident (physicians in specialty training) education. The SOM, which admitted its first class of medical students and residents in 2009, is committed to providing high-level on-site educational resources for resident physicians, even when practicing in remote locations. Seven residents were trained to use an Android-based myTouch 3G smartphone equipped with data-enabled subscriber identity module (SIM) cards and built-in camera. Phones contained locally loaded point-of-care and drug information applications, a telemedicine application that allows for the submission of cases to local mentors, and e-mail/Web access. Surveys were administered at 4 weeks and 8 weeks following distribution of phones. We found that smartphones loaded with point-of-care tools are effectively utilized by resident physicians in resource-limited settings, both for accessing point-of-care medical information at the bedside and engaging in self-directed learning at home.

Recommended Citation

Aileen Y. Chang, Sankalpo Ghose, Ryan Littman-Quinn, Rachel B. Anolik, Andrea Kyer, Loeto Mazhani, Anne K. Seymour, and Carrie L. Kovarik. Telemedicine and e-Health. January/February 2012, 18(1): 11-13. doi:10.1089/tmj.2011.0050.