Medical education is very demanding, requiring long hours of study over an extended period of time. These days, medical students have additional help available to them in their study in the form of websites and apps.
Traditionally, undergraduate medical education has been lecture-based. However, there has been a gradual shift to online learning via resources available on the smartphone and on the web. While some of the resources are free, there are several others for which one has to pay. Often, given the amount of information they unlock, the investment is considered wise.
In this blog, we’ll talk about the types of resources available to them and list some popular websites and apps for medical students.
Currently, there are more than 700 medical student apps on iStore alone.
Medical apps offer a wide variety of resources such as videos, text, podcasts, high-resolution illustrations, and more. They are becoming increasingly popular with students, as information is readily available with a few taps on the phone and can be accessed on the go.
Some popular type of apps are:
1. Case-based quiz apps. These provide thousands of real-life, anonymized case studies with questions. They help you better your clinical diagnosis skills and management. Example: Capsule.
2. Multiple-choice question (MCQ) banks. These provide access to huge databases of interactive MCQs. They are a great help for exam preparation and are used by practising doctors, too. Some of them are integrated with note-taking apps. Example: The Medical Council of Canada’s Multiple-Choice Questions.
3. Speciality apps. If ECG is your thing, then download apps that specialize in it. Or, go for the specialization that you want to delve into. They may be slightly more expensive than the general domain ones, but their quality is very high.
4. Anatomy apps. They are an invaluable resource, especially for first-year students. Some provide pictures of human cadaver specimens. Example: Anatomy Learning.
5. Free apps, such as Epocrates. It is used by medical students as well as doctors. It provides information on disease, diagnostics, drugs, and patient management.
6. Mindfulness apps. Yes, medical students need this, too. It’s easy to waste away minutes and hours on social media while you should be studying the digestive system. There are apps available that track your time spent on social media apps and alert you gently about what you need to get back to. Example: Forest
1. Free reference websites. The Merck Manuals have been around in the offline world since more than a century. They have a consumer version, which is free, and a professional version, too. PubMed is a US-government funded website for doctors to find abstracts as well as entire peer-reviewed articles. Doctors often refer their patients to this website to help them make informed decisions
2. The World Health Organization. It’s a specialized agency of the United Nations. It provides detailed information on various epidemics and pandemics throughout the world. It’s one of the foremost information resource on public health.
3. Research papers from sites such as Clinical Key. It’s a huge medical library published by Elsevier. It provides access to videos, journals, and books.
These range from freely available resource material on Google Docs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia. Medical students often need to look up some general information in the process of their research or diagnosing a patient.
Apart from the above-mentioned apps and websites, there are resources created by the medical institutes themselves. For instance, students are increasingly choosing to tap into a range of online tools and resources to aid their medical studies. They watch recorded videos of lectures when they are not able to attend the in-person sessions. Sometimes, they prefer to watch them as a back-up to refresh their memory or catch more details that they might have missed the first time round.
There are zillions of resources available online, and medical students might often find it confusing which they must choose. It’s always a good idea to go for the apps and websites that offer a freemium model so that you can sample the free version before committing to pay.
International students will prefer if the resource is available in their own native tongues. Many online resources are now actively offering high-quality translations, to increase their reach with multilingual students.
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