An Assessment of the Impact of Multimedia, Technology-Based Learning Tools on the Cardiac Auscultation Skills of Third-Year Medical Students

Torre, Dario M.; Pfeifer, Kurt J.; Lamb, Geoffrey C.; Walters, Matthew P.; Sebastian, James L.; Simpson, Deborah E. (2009)
Co-Action Publishing
Background: Previous studies have shown that medical students and post-graduate train-ees need to improve their proficiency in cardiac auscultation. Technologic advances have created new learner-centered opportunities to enhance proficiency in this important physical examination skill. Objectives: We sought to determine if technology-based, self-directed learning tools improved the cardiac auscultation skills of third-year medical students. Methods: Sixteen (16) third-year medical (M3) students were exposed to three educational inter-ventions: a one-hour cardiac auscultation lecture that featured computer-generated heart sounds, a PDA-based heart sounds/murmur form and a web-based cardiac auscultation program. Thirteen (13) internal medicine (IM) residents who served as a comparison group attended a cardiac auscultation lecture identical in content and format to the student lecture. At the end of the study period, we evaluated the ability of both groups to accurately identify heart sounds and cardiac murmurs via a twelve-item performance-based examination utilizing computer-generated heart sounds. Results: Following our teaching interventions, findingsM3 students correctly identified 80% of the computer-simulated heart sounds/murmurs while the comparison group of IM residents accurately detected 60% of the same cardiac findings (p

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