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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Med Students Rely on Web, Not Textbooks

When students attending the American Medical Student Association Annual Convention & Exposition in February 2017 were asked to rank their preferred sources of medical information, textbooks was not the first choice for most. Or even the second choice.

About 47% of med students said they turn to Google for answers to their questions, while 32% named medical websites. Only 7% indicated they would look in their medical textbooks first before resorting to other sources.

The survey, conducted by Merck Manuals, a reference publisher for physicians and pharmacists, did involve a fairly small sample of 180 students, which included some in premedical programs as well as med-school enrollees. However, nearly all of the students agreed that growing up with access to digital technologies has shaped how they learn and gather information.

Being able to look something up quickly on a mobile device made a big difference to them as medical students, although 83% admitted they sometimes had difficulty determining whether an online source was legitimate or credible. On the other hand, 45% of students said they had found useful medical videos on YouTube, something a traditional print textbook can’t duplicate.

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