Upstate using iPads and FaceTime as teaching tool

Upstate Medical University is participating in a pilot program where they use iPads and the FaceTime function to observe student's bedside manner and more. Third year medical student, Karthik Kota has been participating in the program which was initiated in January thanks to a $25,000 SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant.

"Theres a lot going on when you're sitting at the bedside besides just bedside manner. There's also did you ask all these questions, did it make sense, are you leading the patient, are you putting words in their mouth," says Kota.

The critical skill of interacting with patients is not only hard to teach, but hard for busy teachers to observe. Ann Botash, a Pediatrics Professor at Upstate Medical University, explains the difficulties of organizing an observation session.

"We're all spread out in different buildings and this makes it so much more efficient. I can get a phone call from a student and then actually be in the room with them," says Botash.

Without this tool, students were forced to test their luck and hope a faculty member was around to join them in the room, something Professor Botash thinks is distracting.

" I think in the room, you interfere a little bit with the patient student interaction because you're there. You want to say something," says Botash.

For the student, FaceTime allows them to get in-depth immediate feedback while leading these important skills hands-on.

"People keep saying this, the way they learn best is by experience, by making that mistake and getting corrected. One of the nice things about this, is that you basically speed up the process," says Kota.

About 60 students and faculty are part of the study. The students involved in the study represent a variety of education programs, from medical students in family medicine and pediatric clerkships, to students in Upstate's family nurse practitioner (College of Nursing) and physical therapy programs (College of Health Professions).

Upstate will present the study's findings in May.

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