Medical and other professional publishers play an important role in keeping community members informed about the latest developments. When it comes to certification, too, many publishers have a part in checking on how well those same professionals have paid attention. And with the rise of smartphones and tablets, exam prep has moved from print to apps – with fascinating results. The digital formats, it turns out, make it difficult to peek at the answers.

SiNae Pitts

“Quite a few of our doctors have told us the problem with the print book is that you have to flip back to the back of the book to see the answer, and you have to try to avoid seeing the answer to the next question,” explains SiNae Pitts, CEO for Philadelphia-based app developer Amphetamobile.  “Whereas in the app, we give them feedback right away, and we also keep track for them.  We can also show their progress of how many answers they got right, how many wrong, and how many are un-attempted.”

Next month, at the annual conference of the National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care (NAMDRC) in Sonoma, Pitts presents on “Mobile Learning for Mobile and Busy Pulmonologists.” What those physicians look for in an app is more than just the answers – they want to know how their peers perform.

“Going for their board exams or licensure,  they’re only getting evaluated once a year.  It’s hard for a busy doctor or busy resident to know, how am I doing compared to my peers?  Do I know enough material?” she explains for CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “Increasingly, groups are saying, we want to share the peer statistics, so that after you answer the question, you can see what have your peers answered. People care not just about their performance, but how their performance measures against their peers.”

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