Technical Standards


The requirements to succeed at ICOM will be those necessary to successfully complete the curriculum and to practice osteopathic medicine with full practice rights. Students must be able to function in a variety of learning and clinical settings, and to quickly, accurately, and consistently learn and process data. Osteopathic physicians utilize touching as part of the osteopathic approach to treatment. As part of the educational process, ICOM students must be able to tolerate being touched by members of both sexes, and to touch others (of both sexes) in order to acquire the skills necessary for palpation and examination. This palpation is performed in a professional and appropriate manner.


Acquiring the skills to palpate and examine patients requires a student to examine disrobed patients of both genders and is mandatory for successful completion of the curriculum at ICOM. In physical diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative medicine laboratory experiences, as well as other clinical laboratories where skills are acquired, students are required to participate in the examination of fellow students of both genders who may be partially disrobed.


Students need to wear attire such as shorts and partially disrobe for certain laboratory experiences. Please refer to Dress Code Policy for additional information.


Additionally, ICOM utilizes cadavers as part of anatomy laboratories. As such, ICOM students must be able to tolerate working with and touching cadavers. No photographic devices, including cell phones, are permitted in the gross anatomy lab.


ICOM students also participate in ultrasound labs and, as such, may be required to perform ultrasound exams on each other.


These are requirements for all students, regardless of cultural beliefs, in order for the student to acquire the skills necessary to practice osteopathic medicine. Students who have any concern should discuss them with the Director of Admissions prior to applying.


ICOM will make reasonable accommodations for students whose handicaps allow them to accomplish a successful career as an osteopathic physician. Students, however, are required to function with independence and perform at all skill levels described below which ICOM holds as mandatory for the safe and effective practice of osteopathic medicine.


ICOM is committed to patient safety and assuring a safe and effective environment that does not place patients, students, or others at risk. Each technical standard has been chosen from standards osteopathic physicians deem necessary for the safe and effective practice of osteopathic medicine. Applicants who do not meet the above technical standards should not apply to ICOM.
Applicants must possess the abilities and skills in the following five areas:


1. Observation
The student must be able to visually observe laboratory demonstrations, microscopic tissue with the aid of the microscope, and computer based pictures used in laboratory demonstrations.  The student must be able to visually and accurately observe physical signs and symptoms of a patient used in diagnosis and management.  
The use of a trained intermediary in such cases would compromise performance, as it would be mediated by another individual’s power of selection, observation, and experience.  Observation requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensations and is enhanced by the sense of smell.


2. Communication
The student must be able to communicate effectively in English as the curriculum and clinical experiences are offered in English.  Students are encouraged to learn other languages for medical communication; however, all curriculum and assessment are given in English.  ICOM requires the functional ability to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit accurate medical information.  The student must be able both to describe changes in mood, activity, posture, and other physical characteristics and to perceive nonverbal communication.  The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in verbal and written form.  The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with the patient and with all members of the health care team in order to successfully complete the curriculum.


3. Motor
Students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic measures.  The student must have sufficient motor function to carry out maneuvers of general and emergency care and of osteopathic manipulation.  Examples of emergent motor functions are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous fluids and intravenous medications, management of an obstructed airway, hemorrhage control, closure by suturing of wounds, and obstetrical deliveries.  In addition, the delivery of osteopathic manipulation requires the use of extremities in palpation, positioning, and carrying out maneuvers of manipulation.  These actions require fine and gross motor and sensory function, as well as the senses of touch and adequate vision for inspection.


4. Intellectual
Students must have the ability to reason, calculate, analyze, measure, and synthesize information. The student must be able to comprehend, memorize, synthesize, and recall a large amount of information without assistance, to successfully complete the curriculum.  The student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships to succeed in school and to administer medical care.  The student must be able to gain knowledge through all types of learning materials that the ICOM curriculum offers and must be able to perform pattern identification, memorization, recall information, and to identify and discriminate important information, to problem solve, and to calculate and make decisions in timed situations and in the presence of noise and distraction.

The above intellectual abilities are necessary, as students and graduates will be expected and required to perform pattern identification, immediate recall of memorized material, identification, and discrimination to elicit important information, problem solving, and decision-making as to emergent diagnosis and treatment of patients.  Students must be able to recall important information for diagnosis and to calculate therapeutic management of emergent conditions.  This type of demonstrated intellectual ability must be performed in a rapid and time-efficient manner so as not to place patients in emergent conditions at risk.  

It is common for emergent situations to occur in the presence of visually distracting and noisy environments.  Such emergent situations include, but are not limited to, cardiopulmonary compromise, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, obstetrical and neonatal emergencies, trauma presentations, poisonings and toxic exposures, shock, and hemorrhage.


5. Behavioral and Social Attributes
The student must have the emotional health needed for full use of his/her intellectual capabilities at all times.  The emotional health required for effective communication and for professional, mature, sensitive, and compassionate patient/physician or patient/student relationships must be present.  
Students must be able to function effectively under stress and with physically taxing workloads. Students must have the emotional health to be able to function without the aid of medications that are known to affect intellectual abilities and judgment.  The student must have the emotional stability and motivation to deliver patient care and to make emergent decisions at all times.

The ability to adapt to changing environments and stressful situations and to display compassion and integrity, while maintaining the necessary intellectual capacity to care for patients is one that is observed during the interview process and throughout the progress in medical school.  An ability to demonstrate the emotional health necessary for the delivery of quality and safe medical care is mandatory throughout medical school.  ICOM considers drug and alcohol addiction or abuse as a risk factor for unsafe care.


If an applicant has a question as to his/her ability to meet the minimal technical standards listed, the applicant is required to notify the Office of Admissions in advance of applying so that reasonable testing may occur.  Applicants must identify to the Office of Admissions, all areas where there is question in meeting these technical standards.