European Heart Journal - Digital Health, 2021
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Abstract Aims Mobile learning is attributed to the acquisition of knowledge derived from accessing information on a mobile device. Although increasingly implemented in medical education, research on its utility in Electrocardiography remains sparse. In this study, we explored the effect of mobile learning on the accuracy of ECG analysis and interpretation. Methods and results The study comprised 181 participants (77 fourth- and 69 sixth-year medical students, and 35 residents). Participants were randomised to analyse ECGs with a mobile learning strategy (either searching the Internet or using an ECG reference app) or not. For each ECG, they provided their initial diagnosis, key supporting features and final diagnosis consecutively. Two weeks later they analysed the same ECGs, without access to any mobile device. ECG interpretation was more accurate when participants used the ECG app (56%), as compared to searching the Internet (50.3%) or neither (43.5%, p=0.001). Importantly, mobile learning supported participants in revising their initial incorrect ECG diagnosis (ECG app 18.7%, Internet search 13.6%, no mobile device 8.4%, p<0.001). However, whilst this was true for students, there was no significant difference amongst residents. Internet searches were only useful if participants identified the correct ECG features. The app was beneficial when participants searched by ECG features, but not by diagnosis. Using the ECG reference app required less time than searching the Internet (7:44±4:13 vs 9:14±4:34, p < 0.001). Mobile learning gains were not sustained after two weeks. Conclusion Whilst mobile learning contributes to increased ECG diagnostic accuracy, the benefits were not sustained over time.