Winter 2002 - Volume 13, No. 1

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WSU Recognized as Founding Member of AAMC


New Curriculum Addresses Aging and Geriatrics


Providing Answers About Viruses and Drug Resistance


Publication Shows Gene Programming is Coming Soon


Antacids May be More Important than Calcium in Osteoporosis Prevention


Congressman Rallies for Graduate Medical Education


Tracking Software Evaluates Students' Clinical Rotations


Prayer and Fellowship Promote Healthy Outcomes


Diabetes Program Participants See Sharp Drop in Risk Factors


Master's Degree Offered in Genetic Counseling


Influenza Vaccine Research Targets Large Capacity Virus


WSU School of Medicine Recognizes Excellence in Medical Student Research


In Memory of Professor Emeritus Maurice Bernstein


School Begins Multi-Million dollar Energy Savings Project


WSU Establishes Metabolic Research Center Dedicated to Diabetes/Obesity Research


Drug Delivery System Uses Liposomes to Treat Ocular Tumors


Dr. Goodman Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from American Association of Physical Anthropologists


Medical Students Learn and Practice Professionsl Values


Leukemia Drug Gets Priority Approval


Psychiatry Students Awarded for Research


Lower Cardiovascular Risk is Added Benefit of Exercise


$5 Million Grant Partners WSU and Florida A&M for Environmental Health Research


Graduates Earn PhDs

Tracking Software Evaluates Students’ Clinical Rotations

Developers of the tracking program display their PDAs. Front row, from left: Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg and Viola Smith. Back row, from left: Dr. Patrick Bridge, Ed Bogardus, Erik Yocum and Frank Stasa.

The School of Medicine has found a better way to track its undergraduate students and their educational progress as they move between clinical locations scattered throughout urban and rural communities—and other medical schools across the country are taking note.

Funded by the university’s Student Technology Fee Program, this new approach combines hand-held computers, or personal digital assistants (PDAs), with a server and sophisticated tracking software, and enables school officials to ensure that students receive a complete repertoire of clinical experiences. “The tech fee has been a key factor in getting us to this point and will help us expand in the future,” remarked Patrick Bridge, PhD, assistant professor of family medicine and representative in the medical school’s Office of Academic and Student Programs.

“Basically, we have medical students in their third year who are out in geographically dispersed clinics and hospitals going through their clinical rotations in family medicine, obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN), surgery, and so on. It becomes difficult to get a handle on what they’re doing out there, as far as the types of patients they’re seeing, the types of conditions, and the types of procedures they’re conducting, — or even observing,” he explained.

After a successful pilot that tested the PDAs with students in two clerkships, the project entered its next phase. “Simply using PDAs as data-collection tools wasn’t innovative. What was innovative was our idea to link students’ clinical experiential data with the objectives of the clerkship using technological advances, such as the PDA, the Internet, and the medical school’s intranet,” Dr. Bridge said.

A pilot group of students in the OB/GYN rotation are now recording their clinical experiences in their PDAs and sending the data weekly via modem to the School of Medicine’s central server, he said. A software program, developed by the Medical School Information Systems (MSIS) Department, generates standard reports that are automatically posted on a Website, where the students can see whether they are meeting specific objectives and view a summary of the types of patients they’re seeing or procedures they’re conducting.

 “The key is that this lets the students take more control of their educational experience,” Dr. Bridge said. If they think they are falling behind in meeting the set objectives, they can follow up with their on-site clinical preceptor or, if necessary, the clerkship director, who oversees all students in a specific rotation. Likewise, the clerkship director has a wider range of reports for comparing sites and responding to any disparities that exist, and for reviewing individual student progress.

The medical school will be expanding the program to the family-medicine rotation and eventually plans to bring online all 256 students in the third-year rotations.

“In talking with other medical schools, I have to say that they’re very interested in what we’re doing,” he remarked. “It’s that link — how you incorporate students’ clinical experiential data with the educational objectives using technological advances, such as the PDA, Internet and intranet — that is so fascinating to them.”

State of the School

Welcome New Faculty




Continuing Medical Education