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BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 01 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:0510388
  1. Douglas P Olson, medical student1,
  2. James L Scott, professor and dean1
  1. 1George Washington University School of Medicine

As technology assumes an ever growing importance in health care, Douglas Olson and James L Scott discuss its impact on undergraduate medical education

The years spent in medical school are intended to produce doctors who are altruistic, knowledgeable, skilful, and adaptable life long learners1 who make the needs of their patients their paramount objective. While this has been a constant goal of medical schools since their inception, medicine has changed with both the availability of new technology and the needs of patients and society. Doctors must constantly integrate new technology and information into standard diagnoses and treatments. They must work as members of a healthcare team that is often being asked to do more, produce more, learn more, and integrate more - in shorter periods of time - while remaining ethical, compassionate, and empathetic.

Integrating new technology into medicine is not a novel concept. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are two examples of relatively recent technological advances that have been integrated into medical practice and have had profound effects. What is changing, however, is that new technology is not being limited to clinical care. It is being integrated ever earlier into medicine and is making great headway in both the preclinical and clinical years of undergraduate medical education worldwide.


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