Med students need more computer science instruction

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Medical schools still aren't incorporating enough instruction on computer science and computational thinking into their curricula, according to Daniel Essin, M.D., a Los Angeles-based programmer, in a recent post to the Physician's Practice blog. As a result, he says, many graduates don't know how to use computer technology safely and efficiently.

Essin paraphrases a recent joint report released by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Computer Science Teachers Association that chastises current teaching practices geared toward students in grades K-12, applying its recommendations to med school students.

"Computer fluency does not equal computer literacy, and literacy does not [e]nsure a deep understanding of computer science or the ability to incorporate its theory and principles into medical practice," Essin writes. "Were the K-12 education system to rectify the deficiency in computer science education overnight, it would be years before new medical students arrive adequately prepared and schooled in the fundamentals. Until then, if medical schools do not rise to fill the void, they will continue to graduate physicians that are poorly equipped to deal with the challenges posed by using, evaluating and choosing EHR and other medical computer technologies." Post