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iMedEd: The Role of Mobile Health Technologies in Medical Education

Gaglani, Shiv M.; Topol, Eric J. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000361

Mobile health (mHealth) technologies have experienced a recent surge in attention because of their potential to transform the delivery of health care. This enthusiasm is partly due to the near ubiquity of smartphones and tablets among clinicians, as well as to the stream of mobile medical apps and devices being created. While much discussion has been devoted to how these tools will impact the practice of medicine, surprisingly little has been written on the role these technologies will play in medical education. In this commentary the authors describe the opportunities, applications, and challenges of mHealth apps and devices in medical education and argue that medical schools should make efforts to integrate these technologies into their curricula. By not doing so, medical educators risk producing a generation of clinicians underprepared for the changing realities of medical practice brought on by mHealth technologies.

Mr. Gaglani is a third-year medical student, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Topol is director, Translational Science Institute, Scripps Research Institute, and chief academic officer, Scripps Health, San Diego, California.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: Shiv M. Gaglani curated the Smartphone Physical, which integrated many of these devices into a single exhibit and potentially single app in the future; Eric J. Topol advises many mobile health companies.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Mr. Gaglani, 733 N. Broadway, Suite 137, Baltimore, MD 21205-2196; telephone: (321) 432-3917; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges