Online Learning for Continuous Medical Education

continuous medical education

Healthcare is one of the most vital and oldest industries of the world. A society with good healthcare system has better quality of individual lives which contribute to a smarter and stronger workforce adding pace to its overall development. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnels are hard working and busy professionals who require constant pursuit of expanded professional wisdom. They constantly need to update and re-train for the latest research in their field of work, need to make acquaintance with new tools when introduced, and need to be abreast with any regulatory changes, this is  a salient characteristic of health professionals, after all they save lives.

Continuous medical education is a highly specialized field and it has firmly established disciplines. Rapid development and specialization in medical education have come with a price, the more developed the discipline has become, the more specialized and fragmented the learning content is. Expected to reach USD 36.20 Billion by 2022 the global education market is primarily driven by the focus on improved healthcare, rise in public awareness of rights to good service and the need to treat chronic diseases with the high global burden.

Whereas continuous medical education and training in healthcare is a must-have, the traditional modes of delivery of knowledge in the industry have certain limitations. Apart from cost of physical infrastructure, their reach and efficiency do not feed well to the modern healthcare environment, where diseases, treatment, equipment, technologies, ethical obligations and regulations change constantly. Frequent classroom trainings on the latest developments create an additional burden on the staff who already have this legal obligation to take several course credits every year in order to maintain their status as active practitioners.

Healthcare is one of the industries where online and blended learning is replacing traditional classroom learning at a great pace. As fast as it is spreading across industries for corporate training and continuous professional learning, online learning justifies the pace by being cost effective, efficient, convenient and having greater reach.

Online learning doesn’t require a classroom setup, thus saving on time and cost. However, in medical profession several trainings require lab based observation, in such cases blended learning comes into play by providing the best of the both world.

Online learning is personal and is accessed through smartphones, tablets and laptops at your own choosing of time and place, some employees at hospitals are busier than other and their presence is critically important in some places, hence they can’t afford to attend classroom trainings at fixed timings. Online learning provides the solution.

Medical learning involves vast amount of images and figures – consider x-rays, anatomy, organs, ECG, MRI etc – elearning makes it convenient to inculcate multimedia and interactivity into the courses. Users of elearning have the advantage of accessing the multimedia content at their own time, examine it at their own pace  and study it as long as they need. Online courseware is designed and built to be engaging and interactive, using quality images, video, audio and animation to help users comprehend and retain knowledge.

LMS platforms also provide an excellent system to provide feedbacks on learning progress, we can get detailed reports on teams and individuals on learning pace, exams, time spent on topics and other granular reports. We can maintain a database of reports for reference without any external or manual work. Based on student progress and feedback courses can be managed, eg, courseware can be modified to make it more effective.

LMS or learning management system is a versatile tool for an organization. Apart from continuous medical education, online learning can be used for equipment training (provided by the equipment manufacturer), update on new drugs, and compliance trainings.

Compliance trainings are fundamental in modern healthcare where accreditations, recognition and government grants require hospitals to fulfil multitude of criteria (most of the hospitals struggle to keep up with the changing regulations), the goal of these regulations is to maintain overall quality of healthcare. LMS for online learning like iPC Health from Impelsys can be a key contributor in providing medical training as well as training on new and existing regulations to fulfil legal criteria for government accreditation. iPC Health is a digital content and learning delivery solution specifically designed for hospitals to improve healthcare outcomes by fulfilling the training, development and compliance needs of healthcare professionals.

As we see online training can provide a windfall of advantage for healthcare learning and training, the adoption rates at organizations are rising worldwide, it’s even more beneficial for developing economies owing to cost and infrastructure advantage it provides. It saves on cost, provides efficient learning with greater reach and can be used for variety of other training and as a common source of information. Online platforms like iPC Health can also be used for employee induction and the initial training.

There are many reasons that elearning should be included in healthcare industry for continuous medical education, equipment training, compliance training and HR training. Healthcare industry has been on top of the list to use digital technology in various fields like diagnosis, treatment, administration and other, and it’s now ready to reap benefit for learning and training as well, it’s the right time that hospitals should consider this. Finding the right tool is crucial as the initial experience can set the pulse for a long future. Implementation of LMS in an organization will certainly bring some changes and the staff needs to be digitally educated and prepared for this. When all is done the benefits will start showing in no time.

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