The usefulness of TV medical dramas for teaching clinical pharmacology: A content analysis of House, M.D.

Josep Eladi Baños, María Isabel Lucena, Magí Farré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


© 2019 Elsevier España, S.L.U. Introduction: Television medical dramas enjoy great popularity among the general public and university students. These dramas have been used to illustrate important aspects of medical training (doctor–patient relationships, professionalism, ethical conflicts), but their usefulness for discussing the use of drugs in medical care remains unexplored. We analyzed pharmacological issues in House, M.D. to determine their potential usefulness in teaching clinical pharmacology. Material and methods: Two investigators, blind to each other's responses, reviewed each of the 22 episodes of the first season of House, M.D., recording the main and secondary topics dealt with as well as the drugs portrayed and rating the episode's interest for teaching clinical pharmacology (High/Medium/Low). Discordant ratings were settled by a third (or fourth, if necessary) investigator. Results: Most episodes included information on drugs; in six, pharmacologic issues were the main topics. The episodes dealt with 115 drugs, mainly anti-infective (16.5%), cardiovascular (12.2%), CNS-acting (12.2%), and analgesic or anti-inflammatory (12.2%) drugs. Five episodes were considered very useful for teaching clinical pharmacology. Discussion: The episodes of the first season of House, M.D. contained frequent references to drug treatment and pharmacological issues; in a few episodes, the main topic was related with clinical pharmacology. Before medical dramas are recommended as a regular teaching tool, their pedagogical efficacy should be tested empirically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-303
JournalEducacion Medica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Medical TV series
  • Medical curricula
  • Undergraduate Teaching


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