Anatomy has been taught by traditional methods for centuries. However, there has been an explosion of a variety of digital training resources for anatomical education. There is also a requirement from regulatory bodies to embrace digital technologies in teaching, yet no formal analysis has been undertaken as to the effectiveness of these products and tools.
A comprehensive electronic database search was performed to identify the use, and effectiveness or otherwise, of digital technologies in anatomy, medicine, surgery, dentistry and the allied health professions. The data was pooled, analysed and we identified 164 articles.
We identified two groups – those that did, and those that did not, have empirical data for analysis of the effectiveness of digital technologies in anatomical education. We identified three categories within this –pro, neutral and against the use of digital technologies. For the pro category, there were 35 (21.3%) empirically tested articles, and 91 (55.5%) non-empirically tested articles identified. In the neutral category, there were 19 (11.6%) empirically tested articles, and 16 (9.8%) non-empirically tested articles. Only 3 articles were against the use of digital technologies, and were in the empirically tested category.
The majority of literature related to digital technologies in anatomical education is supportive of its use. However, most of the literature is not supported with empirical data related to the use of digital technologies in anatomy specific education within the health and related disciplines. Further studies need to be conducted as to the effectiveness of technology in medical/healthcare related education.
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