Smartphones and Medical related Applications use among students in Dow Medical College
Background: To find common medical-related applications and their specific purposes and to determine the prevalence and usage frequency of these smartphone applications among medical students.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence and usage frequency of smartphone applications among students of a medical university in Karachi within a period of 6 months from January 2019 to June 2019; currently enrolled in MBBS program from first to final year. Self-administered, anonymous questionnaires were distributed and filled after obtaining informed consent. The sample size consisting of a total of 278 students was calculated on a convenience sampling technique with an absolute precision of 0.1% and 95% confidence interval. Data were analyzed using SPSS version v 20.0- and Descriptive analysis for categorical data was done using frequencies and proportions. Bivariate analysis was done using the chi-square test. P-value of <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: We had 278 respondents with male to female ratio of 1:2 out of which 98.9% owned a smartphone. Most were android users (52.9%). 62.2% owned medical-related apps while 37.8% didn’t use any. By using Chi sq. test there was a significant difference seen between both genders as females were using more smartphones with medical apps (p=0.015). Wikimed was found to be famous among all the students and 1st years were consistently using all apps except Pharmapedia; probably because pharmacology is not a major subject for them. The 1st years preferably used anatomy and medical dictionaries and the 3rd years leaned towards apps that were more clinical helping in diagnosing diseases (16)(17). Students were asked about their opinion on the need for any application specific to their medical school’s curriculum. Majority respondents voted in favor at 56.5% (n=157 / 278) while 29.5% (n=82/278) were indecisive and 14%(n=39) voted against such an application.
Conclusion: Even though we saw an increasing trend in the usage of medical apps as learning aids in younger students and specificity of famous apps, the amount used was still surprisingly less considering the time millennials spend on their mobile phones. This is why we asked the students their opinions on the possibility of an app designed for their medical school, specifically students making more than half of participants were in favor of this. Smartphones application role in Medicine appears promising and it’s obvious that students do want to have applications that can ensure them solid learning platforms in the future.
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