Abstract Title | Medical students' use of and attitudes towards medically related mobile phone applications


  1. Nicole Koehler (
  2. Kaihan Yao
  3. Christine McMenamin (


Mobile Learning


Case Studies


Monash University



The last few years saw the introduction of medically related mobile phone applications (“apps”) within clinical practice – e.g., medical calculators1,2, medical reference tools3
• A limited number of studies have evaluated the effectiveness of medical apps in a clinical and simulated environment4,5
Little is known in regards to medical students' use of apps and their attitudes towards apps within a medical education setting


Enumerate medical students’ mobile / smart phone ownership
Evaluate medical students’ attitudes towards using medically related smart phone apps


Most students have a smart phone with app support or are willing to obtain one.
Students had positive attitudes towards using medical apps.

Small sample size (25% response rate) possibly due to:

Students without mobiles refraining from participating
Survey around assessment time
Medical students over surveyed
Take-home Messages

Medical students appear to be ready for and accepting of medically related mobile phone apps to be used during their medical education


Future research

Establish healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards the use of medically related mobile phone apps and internet sites in clinical practice


Be part of our next study

If you are a healthcare professional and have practiced in the last 2 years then you are invited to participate in our next study by going to:

Summary of Work


All Monash medical students enrolled in 2011 (N = 2,417)
Recruited via bulk emails, lecture announcements, university discussion boards
Anonymous online survey
Summary of Results

594 students participated

241 pre-clinical; 325 clinical; 28 BMedSci (honours)

Mean age: 22.4 years (n = 591; SD = 2.9)

All students owned a mobile phone; 77% owned one with app support (see figure 1, link below)

87% of students that had medical apps on their mobile found medical apps useful (see figure 1, link below) 1 .pdf


We would like the thank the Monash medical students who took part in our study in 2011.



1.Dasari, K. B., White, S. M., & Pateman, J. (2011). Survey of iPhone usage among anaesthetists in England. Anaesthesia, 66, 620–631.
2.Franko, O. I., & Tirrell, T. F. (2011). Smartphone app use among medical providers in ACGME training programs. Journal of Medical Systems [Online]. Available:
3.Franko, O. I. (2011). Smartphone apps for orthopaedic surgeons. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 469, 2042–2048.
4.Flannigan, C., & McAloon, J. (2011). Students prescribing emergency drug infusions utilising smartphones outperform consultants using BNFCs. Resuscitation, 82, 1424-1427.
5.Low, D., Clark, N., Soar, J., Padkin, A., Stoneham, A., Perkins, G. D., & Nolan, J. (2011). A randomised control trial to determine if use of the iResus application on a smart phone improves the performance of an advanced life support provider in a simulated medical emergency.  Anaesthesia, 66, 255-262.
Take-home Messages

Explanatory statement and link to our next study:

Mobile phone applications:

Healthcare professionals’ attitudes to use in clinical practice


We are conducting a survey to establish healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards the use of medically related mobile phone applications in clinical practice.


In order to be eligible to participate you must:

1)     Have a healthcare professional qualification (e.g., be a medical practitioner, nurse, physiotherapist).

2)     Have been in clinical practice (i.e., directly involved in patient care) within the past 2 years.


Mobile phone applications (also termed “apps”) are programs for mobile phones which are designed to enable users to perform specific tasks that are typically accessed via a computer or laptop/notebook. For example, there is an “Australian Open App” which enables users to access tennis score updates and event schedules.


Over the last few years medically related mobile phone apps have also been created.  These apps are specifically designed for clinicians to perform tasks, such as calculate drug dosages, or obtain information in regards to medical conditions.


Data collected from this survey will be used as part of a larger project and may be published in scholarly scientific journals and/or presented at medical education conferences.  In all these instances, no information that may reveal your identity will be disclosed.  All data collected will be retained in a secure manner for a period of 5 years after completion of the present study.


The survey will take no more than 10 minutes to complete, and may be even shorter depending on the number of questions/sections are applicable you.


Participation in the survey is voluntary and anonymous.  Completion of the survey implies that you consent for the information supplied by you to be used within this study and studies related to this project.


Please ensure that any questions you may have concerning your survey participation has been satisfactorily answered prior to the completion of the survey.


If you have any questions then please contact:

· Dr Nicole Koehler:; +613 9905 4933; Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Building 15, Clayton Campus, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

· Dr Olga Vujovic:; +613 9076 8448; Department of Infectious Diseases, The Alfred, Commercial Road, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia

· Dr Claire Dendle:; +613 9594 3370; Southern Clinical School, PO box 254, Clayton Road, Clayton 3168

· Prof Christine McMenamin:;  +613 9902 9916; Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Building 15, Clayton Campus, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia


This research has been approved by Monash University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. (Project No: CF12/1651 - 2012000892 )


If you have a complaint concerning the manner in which this research is being conducted, please contact:

Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics

Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC)

Building 3e Room 111

Research Office

Monash University VIC 3800

If you are interested in participating then please go to the following website:

Summary of Work
Summary of Results

Additional results

Medical students found medical applications (“apps”) easy to obtain, reliable in content, and convenient to use in a clinical setting (see table 1). Furthermore, students did not rely heavily on medical apps for their learning and believed that medical apps cannot replace textbooks and handbooks (see table 1).

Table 1.      Medical students’ (n = 307) mean level of agreement with statements in regards to medical apps on a 0-100 scale (0 = strongly disagree; 100 = strongly agree).




Medical apps on mobile phones are EASY to obtain



I am looking to obtain MORE medical apps in the future



There are many available medical apps, which cover a WIDE RANGE OF TOPICS



I would RECOMMEND the use of medical apps on mobile phones to my fellow medical students



Medical apps on mobile phones can REPLACE the use of handbooks



Medical apps on mobile phones CANNOT REPLACE the use of textbooks



I do MOST of my medical learning using medical apps



I find the contents of medical apps UNRELIABLE



I find it INCONVENIENT to use medical apps in clinical settings (i.e., ward rounds, clinics)




Approximately 22% of all students surveyed had electronic devices other than a mobile phone with the three most common devices being the iPad (n = 65), the iPod Touch (n = 32) and Kindle (n = 11). A large proportion of these students (70%) used medical apps on electronic devices other than a mobile phone.


Researchers' contact details


Dr Nicole Koehler


Phone: +613 9905 4933

Address: MBBS (Building 15),  Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia


Dr Kaihan Yao completed this project as part of his six week medical education rotation whilst he was a 5th year medical student at Monash University. 


Prof Christine McMenamin


Phone:   +613 9902 9916

Address: MBBS (Building 15),  Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

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