7.07 Computers, Networks and Technology Requirements

Medical Education

More... Share to Twitter Share to Facebook
7.07 Computers, Networks and Technology Requirements

Students who are provided access to Medical School computer facilities and to the campus-wide communication network assume responsibility for their appropriate use. The Medical School expects students to be careful, honest, responsible, and civil in the use of computers and networks. Those who use wide-area networks (such as the Internet) to communicate with individuals or to connect to computers at other institutions are expected to abide by the rules for the remote systems and networks as well as those for Harvard’s systems. Be advised that, in addition to being a violation of School rules, certain computer misconduct is prohibited under Massachusetts General Laws, c.266 subsection 33 (a) and 12 (f) and is, therefore, subject to criminal penalties. Such misconduct includes knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database, falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges, and destroying of electronically processed, stored, or in-transit data. Students may be held responsible for misuse that occurs by allowing access to a third party to their own computer or account. See Section 3.10, Education Computing and MyCourses.

Use of Facilities

Computer and network facilities are provided to students primarily for their educational use. These facilities have tangible value. Consequently, attempts to circumvent accounting systems or to use the computer accounts of others will be treated as forms of attempted theft.

Students may not attempt to damage or to degrade the performance of Medical School computers and networks and should not disrupt the work of other users. Students may not attempt to circumvent security systems or to exploit or probe for security holes in any Harvard network or system, nor may students attempt any such activity against other systems accessed through Harvard’s facilities. Execution or compilation of programs designed to breach system security is prohibited unless authorized in advance. Students assume personal responsibility for the use of their accounts. Consequently, students may not disclose their passwords or otherwise make Harvard’s facilities available to unauthorized persons (including family or friends). Moreover, the possession or collection of others’ passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), private digital certificates, or other secure identification information is prohibited. Use of Harvard’s computers and networks for business-related purposes without authorization is prohibited.

Mobile Device Requirement

All first- and second-year MD and DMD students are required to have a “smart mobile” device.

Mobile devices will frequently be used in the classroom in conjunction with audience response systems. The Program in Medical Education, through the Office of Curriculum Services, will distribute information about audience response software to all Pathways and New Pathway MD students and DMD students in Years I and II. There is no additional cost for this application. Other free and discounted medically-related mobile applications can be downloaded from MyCourses.

The operating system of the mobile device must be android 2.3.7 (or higher) or Apple iOS 6 (or higher). The device must be WiFi capable. Students may choose their own devices (tablets or smartphones), e.g., iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Galaxy Tab, HTC Evo, Galaxy Note, etc. Students are expected to carry their charged mobile device to all course-related activities. All venues that require student participation with a mobile device will have WiFi available, so using a device with WiFi connectivity for this purpose will not incur a fee for the user.

NB: Although not expressly prohibited from meeting this mobile requirement, laptops are not recommended since they are not as portable as phones and tablets and often have greater power consumption, which may not be accommodated in venues such as the large amphitheaters.

Financial concerns related to this requirement: The books & supplies portion of the 2015-2016 HMS student cost of attendance budget is sufficient to cover any additional charges incurred by this expense (purchase of phone, increased monthly telephone charges). Budget adjustment requests to increase financial aid for this purpose will not be approved.

Laptop/iPad Requirement (Pathways/New Pathway Program Only)

All first- and second-year MD and DMD students in the Pathways and New Pathway programs are required to own either a laptop or iPad meeting the following specifications:


  • Mac: OS 10.6 and above with an Intel processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB hard drive with at least 1 GB of free space
  • PC: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 with at least a 1.86Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB hard drive with at least 1 GB of free space

Note: ExamSoft does not support Tablet or Convertible devices other than the Surface Pro 1, 2, and 3 with Windows 8, and with an external keyboard required.  The Surface RT is NOT supported.  Windows 10 is NOT supported.


  • iPad 2 or later model with iOS 6, 7 or 8. Requires an external keyboard.

Electronic Exams

The Pathways and New Pathway programs administer exams and quizzes in preclerkship courses in electronic format on the ExamSoft platform. ExamSoft products work only on laptops and iPads meeting certain technical specifications, which serve as the basis for this technology requirement. The full technical specifications can be viewed here:


Please note that Android tablets are not supported and therefore do not satisfy this device requirement. Questions related to the implementation of computer-based testing can be directed to Evan Sanders, Associate Director of Curriculum Services, at evan@hms.harvard.edu.

Financial concerns related to this requirement: The Books & Supplies portion of the HMS Cost of Attendance budget should provide sufficient coverage for students who must purchase a laptop or iPad as a result of this requirement. Alternatively, HMS and HSDM students may be eligible for additional loan borrowing for this expense. Students who receive financial aid who are interested in this option should speak with a financial aid officer at their home school prior to the purchase.

Student Computing Ethics

As in all other areas of your academic life, the use of computing technology should be undertaken in a manner consistent with the high standards of professional conduct appropriate to the field of medicine. In addition, the internet, electronic mail, and social media may create additional challenges to health care professionals’ responsibility for ensuring patient confidentiality. To protect this fundamental patient right, you should not use any of these media to transmit information containing patient names or other medical records data that may be used to identify individual patients. When you are doing clinical rotations at our affiliated teaching hospitals, your strict compliance with patient confidentiality rules and regulations is expected, and lapses are subject to disciplinary procedures.

Caution is recommended as well in using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. The profession of medicine is founded on the highest standards of conduct. In admitting a student to HMS, we believe you have already demonstrated that your behavior in person – both on campus and off – and in your electronic presence reflects the maturity and civility that are the necessary underpinnings of the profession. After you are admitted, enrollment remains contingent on a continuation of this high standard of conduct. Items that represent unprofessional behavior that are posted by you on social networking sites reflect poorly on you and on the medical profession. Such items may become public and could subject you to unintended exposure and consequences. When students are in the hospitals or other clinical settings, they must adhere to each clinical institution’s privacy and social media policies (e.g., see MGH social media policy at http://www.massgeneral.org/notices/socialmediapolicy.aspx).

See Section 4.18: Patient Confidentiality and HIPAA.

Emergency Notification System

All students are required to sign up to receive emergency notifications from Harvard University’s Community Emergency Notification System called MessageMe, which allows the University to quickly distribute critical information to you, wherever you are located, during an emergency.

MessageMe helps you to stay informed in the event of an emergency by sending alerts to your personal electronic device (cell phone, pda, smartphone, etc.) through text messaging, voice, and/or e-mail.

Students can sign up for the Emergency Notification Service by going to https://messageme.harvard.edu/.


Last updated on 8/5/15