Evaluation of the Impact on Competency and Students’ Satisfaction by Incorporating Smartphone Technology in Clinical Psychiatric Teaching

Dr Roger Ho (PI) and Dr Melvyn Zhang (Co-I)

What Used to Be

The ‘Undergraduate Psychiatry Teaching’ course is a 6-week course taught to about 300 medical undergraduates during their 4th year. Around 70-75 medical students will be assigned to a 6-week posting and there are 4 postings per academic year. The delivery method is: small group clinical teaching in different hospitals from Monday to Thursday and large group centralised teaching on Friday. Conventional psychiatry teaching still relies heavily on face to face didactics and provision of printed reading materials.

Problems We Identified

Technology has been widely utilized in various other disciplines as an educational tool. To date, recent advances in E-Health and M-Health technologies have not been piloted, implemented and utilized for psychiatry education. There is an absence of a localised version of psychiatric textbook and smartphone application that can provide NUS students with: local data of mental health disorders; localized treatment guidelines; clinical videos incorporating clinical knowledge that could demonstrate psychiatric assessment.

What We Did

A web-based smartphone application (‘Mastering Psychiatry’) was developed by two local psychiatrists and piloted in 2014 amongst a group of medical undergraduates at NUS. Thereafter, a native application was developed, which included not only interactive textbook materials, but also a vault of clinical interviews videos for students to observe how various types of psychiatric assessment are conducted at their own convenience, and an interactive revision quiz that students could use for quick revision for the multiple-choice component of their end-of-posting examinations.

How This Helped

There have been a cumulative total of 2200 downloads of the Mastering Psychiatry app from the Apple app store and 7000 downloads of the same app from the Android app store. The initial user perspective survey conducted locally highlighted that approximately a total of 95.2% (177/186) of students felt that having a psychiatry mobile phone app was deemed to be useful. Further chi-squared analysis demonstrated that there was a significant difference between males and females in their perception of having textbook contents in the mobile phone app (χ24=12.9, P=.0012).