McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster iBook on anesthesia goes viral

By Suzanne Morrison
Published: September 5, 2013
Salim Yusuf
Karen Raymer, a clinical professor of anesthesia at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, views Understanding Anesthesia: A Learners Guide on an iPad.

With the touch of a finger, tomorrow’s doctors around the world are acquiring knowledge about anesthesia with an innovative iBook created at McMaster University.

Understanding Anesthesia: A Learners Guide has already been downloaded more than 1,500 times in over 40 countries, and is thought to be one-of-a-kind. It is intended for medical students who want to gain some knowledge of anesthesia.

The interactive iBook features modules with videos, slide shows, review quizzes and glossary. Each of its six chapters opens by touching a dot. Title pages for each chapter run along the bottom of the iBook along with a contents list.

Specific subjects, such as airway management, are reached by touching the topic. To return to a view of the main chapter, all that is needed is to simply pinch the page closed.

The anesthesia iBook was created by Karen Raymer, a clinical professor of anesthesia at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, in collaboration with Eric Brown, a recent graduate of the medical school and Rick Kolesar, associate clinical professor. Linda Onorato, an assistant clinical professor, contributed several original illustrations for the book. 

The iBook is available for free at Understanding Anesthesia as well as from Apple's iBookstore. The interactive version can only be downloaded and viewed on an iPad, although a PDF version (without interactivity) is available for viewing on other devices. 

The iBook received high praise from American anesthesiologist and physician Meir Chernofsky, who is in charge of educating medical students at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in Washington, DC. He calls the book a "crucial resource" with "just the right amount of detail."

"I will be using Dr. Raymer’s book for a variety of medical student anesthesia clerkships at Uniformed Services University, the federal medical school of the U.S. Department of Defense," he said.

Similar praise came from Amy Murray, associate professor and program director for anesthesiology at Loyola University.  "It is very useful for early learners looking to get a sharper focus on anesthesiology. The Society for Education in Anesthesia has eagerly accepted this resource and offers it to medical students and educators on our website."

Raymer said one thing that sets the iBook apart is its ability to supersize figures, which look nice on their own, but by touching one portion become full size. In addition, the powerful features of the electronic format allow the student to create their own study cards, cross-reference information through the glossary and pull together highlighted material to facilitate review.

Medical students benefit from video presentations embedded in the iBook which show views of actual anatomy, such as the epiglottis and laryngeal structures, she said. As well, a power point presentation on fluid compartments of the body and an interactive figure demonstrating the components of an anesthetic machine are embedded in the book. An interactive quiz ends each chapter.

In the United States, the iBook is also downloadable from the website for the Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA), the society for anesthesia educators.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0