This innovation is related to the integration of radiology sessions into a first-year basic science anatomy course. The authors used a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) to provide computerized tomography (CT) radiology images that enhanced visual learning in anatomy and provided an interactive exchange among faculties and students.
In the last decade methods to enhance innovative modalities for the integration of curricula into advanced learning strategies have led to the acquisition of hardware and software programs that facilitate medical education. To a progressive and increasing extent, computer technology has been selected as an educational tool to instruct students in the many facets of radiology and anatomy. CD-ROMs and specialized websites have been widely used and accepted methods to enhance concepts of medical imaging and anatomical structure. Among the varied modalities, we employed an in-house Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) to provide clinical relevance to Gross Anatomy, a first-year basic science course. PACS was designed by AGFA, Inc., Mortsel, Belgium. Students, in groups of five, are rotated through mandatory teaching sessions in the Department of Radiology at Creighton University Medical Center. Each group, facilitated by a radiologist, reviews PACS images of a computerized tomography scan (CT) of their respective anatomical cadaver that are stored on a local server. Following each radiology session, the PACS system allows students to access and view their cadaver images from a remote computer laboratory in the School of Medicine. Each student group rotates through the radiology exercises in three separate learning sessions, which include the 1) abdomen, 2) chest and 3) head and neck. The learning sessions are preceded by a short 5-minute anatomical lecture to orient students to the respective radiological session. Additional large group format lectures are provided for each of the above sections. The current integration of radiology CT sessions provides a method for visual cues in anatomy and enhances the value of anatomical learning strategies. In addition, the sessions provide a format for the interactive exchange between clinical faculty and medical students and complement learning concepts in beginning radiology. Evaluation criteria provided course comments that were positive, including “The radiology sessions were really helpful, I would like to see more of them in the future to help assist with the anatomy learning requirements” and “The radiology sessions were a great introduction into radiology.” This innovative approach provides a means for clinical faculty and residents to engage first-year medical students with a unique experience.