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Top Pharmacy School Uses Qstream Mobile App to Help Students Improve Self-Study  

Dr. Sando developed a pilot Qstream program for first-year students covering the Top 200 cardiovascular system drugs, the most common medicines that students would encounter in a community pharmacy. After 6 weeks, Dr. Sando found that 13 of the 15 scenario-based challenges achieved statistically significant proficiency increases, with overall proficiency improving 19%.

Established in 1923, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy is ranked among the top colleges and schools of pharmacy nationwide. It is an innovator in changing the classroom learning experience to meet the educational needs of a 21st century pharmacist.

The Challenge

Achieving mastery on the top 200 drugs and pharmacy calculations is the foundation of a professional pharmacist’s practice and essential to the pharmacy school’s curriculum. Yet recalling the brand name, generic name, class of drug, and indications for the full lineup of top prescribed drugs can be overwhelming for first year students. By years two and three of the curriculum, there’s even more information to know about dosage forms and counseling points to pass national assessment tests. Since college educators can’t allocate limited classroom time to memorization, students must achieve proficiency on their own.

Karen Sando, Pharm.D., BCACP, CDE, clinical assistant professor at UF College of Pharmacy, has long maintained an interest in new learning paradigms. While attending the Harvard-Macy Institute’s program for health professions educators, she used an approach developed at Harvard Medical School and commercialized by Qstream that is scientifically proven to overcome “the forgetting curve” – where in as little as 30 days, 79% of knowledge is forgotten. She liked how the mobile solution was clinically

proven to increase knowledge retention by up to 170%, and thought if it was fun and engaging for her, it might spur students into self-study.

The Solution

When she returned, Dr. Sando developed a pilot Qstream program for fi rst-year students covering the Top 200 cardiovascular system drugs, the most common medicines that students would encounter in a community pharmacy. To elicit adoption, she made the program voluntary, and 81% of students enrolled – whom she then placed into 21 groups with randomly assigned, anonymous names.

The Qstream application automatically sent a total of 15 different scenario-based challenges to the student’s mobile device every two days. Both correct and incorrect responses received an explanation, and once a scenario was answered correctly twice, it was retired.

Students could respond to challenges in off hours that was non-disruptive to both classroom and personal time. All answers were given points and team totals ranked on a leaderboard, so that the ‘Snazzy Chickens’ could claim bragging rights over the ‘Fun Cobras’ one day, but may lose to the ‘Foxy Hounds’ the next.

The Results

After completion of the initial six-week trial, Dr. Sando found that 13 of the 15 scenario-based challenges achieved statistically significant proficiency increases, with overall proficiency improving 19%. In surveys sent to participants after completion, students raved about the approach’s immediate feedback and the fun, lighthearted competition that prompted them to study, and created demand from students for more scenarios.

As a result of its success with Qstream, the UF College of Pharmacy expanded use of the mobile platform with the pharmacy calculations program in addition to continuing its Top 200 Drugs effort with first-year students. “Today’s students came of age with social media and are engaging with curriculum differently,” Dr. Sando explained.

“They expect immediate feedback and really enjoy the social aspect of connecting with their peers. They found Qstream to be highly engaging, fun and effective. And as we pivot the curriculum toward personalized delivery, where we’re designing content to engage adult learners – versus teaching to the masses – this is a type of solution that readily fits that paradigm.”

In part for her innovative use of Qstream, Dr. Sando was awarded the UF College of Pharmacy’s Teacher of the Year 2016 award, the highest recognition of teaching excellence within the College of Pharmacy.

About UF College of Pharmacy

Established in 1923, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy is ranked among the top colleges and schools of pharmacy in the nation. In keeping with the University of Florida mission, the college is dedicated to excellence in pharmacy research, service, and educational programs enhanced through online technologies. The college prepares students who seek academic training and degrees in professional practice and graduate research areas.