Development and assessment of an integrated anatomy mobile app

Clin Anat. 2022 Jul;35(5):686-696. doi: 10.1002/ca.23895. Epub 2022 Apr 29.


Curricular hours for anatomical sub-disciplines (gross anatomy, embryology, histology, and neuroanatomy) continue to decline, while medical schools are simultaneously transitioning to systems-based, vertically integrated curricula. This requires students to learn and integrate all basic science content for a learning block prior to the summative assessment. Currently, no educational technology resource exists that integrates the four anatomical sub-disciplines into a single resource to supplement integrated curricula. The objective of this study was to assess a novel integrated anatomical sciences mobile app for medical students. The 4natomy mobile app was developed to integrate the four sub-disciplines for a single topic, the spinal cord. The app was distributed to first-year medical students during the neurological disorders learning. Following the learning block, assessment of the student acceptance and experience with the app was conducted through a technology acceptance model (TAM) framework survey. The results indicated that students found the app to be useful (p < 0.001) and easy to use (p < 0.05), predicting continued future usage of the app. Students requested expanded anatomy content for the entire learning block, as well as more clinical correlations, videos, and animations. The integrated anatomy mobile app developed in this study was useful and easy to use, indicating continued use within an integrated medical curriculum. This was the first study to utilize the TAM as a conceptual framework for technology assessment in medical education, suggesting that future studies that develop new technologies should adapt the TAM for user testing.

Keywords: anatomy; educational technology; embryology; medical education; neuroanatomy; technology assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy* / education
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate* / methods
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical*