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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yale hands out 64GB iPad 2s to entire Medical School student body

By David Goldman:

You just never know where the iPad 2 is going to show up these days. From airplane cockpits to the NFL, the iPad is increasingly becoming a favored replacement for massive reams of paper.

Not too long ago, we reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneer football team gave all 90 of its players iPad 2s to serve as replacements for gargantuan playbooks that made the Yellow Pages seem small by comparison.

And now the iPad 2 is making inroads into medical schools, a fact which shouldn’t be too surprising given its current popularity with doctors and hospitals.

Starting this Fall, Yale Medical Students won’t have to worry about carrying around obscenely large textbooks. Nope, their shoulders will be spared the wear and tear of carrying around a collection of books that can seemingly way upwards of 30 pounds.

So out with the old textbooks and in with the iPad 2.

But far from solely serving as a textbook replacement, students will can use their new iPads to check out Yale’s curriculum and “read and handle confidential patient health information.” What’s more, students will be able to download lecture notes and access course materials as well.

Even better, the iPad 2s are genuine gifts and students will be allowed to keep them after graduation. Of course, that sounds like a great deal until you ponder the insane price of a Yale medical education these days.

All told, Yale plans on distributing 520 iPads to students this year at a cost of $600,000. In contrast, printing up, collating, and distributing course materials via paper eats up $100,000 every year. Not to worry, though, as Yale expects to cover the initial cost of the iPad 2s with the money it will cumulatively save on printing going forward.

The School of Medicine tested the use of iPads in the classroom with a pilot group of nine first-year students last spring. The group included some students who self-identified as not “technology-savvy,” but even they responded positively to the device, Schwartz said. For those who remain committed to pen and paper, printed course materials will be available for purchase.

Robert Stretch MED ’14, a student in the pilot group, said he much preferred reading course notes electronically to having them on paper.

“We get binder upon binder of notes, literally several feet of notes, and carrying them to the library or to class is just unrealistic,” Stretch said.

Oh, and did we mention that the iPad 2s supplied to Yale’s medical students are of the 64GB 3G variety and come with Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. Must be nice to be a Yalie!

The iPad is also a more secure device than a laptop for handling Electronic Protected Health Information, Schwartz said. Students work with this confidential information when they do clinical training, and in the past campus staff needed to set up special security on students’ laptops for them to be able to handle it safely. By contrast, the iPad is encrypted and can be remotely locked or erased completely if it is lost or stolen.

Now you can bet that this is the type of story Apple would love to bring up the next time it holds a special media event centered on the iPad.

via Yale Daily News