The digital age has opened up opportunities for the healthcare sector, everything from patient self management to improved data on outcomes. It will probably not come as a surprise that education and learning is one of the top divisions seeing innovative approaches to healthcare. This article highlights some of the areas where digital approaches to education are improving the learning experience for staff and patients alike.
Monitoring and Delivering Mandatory Training
In the healthcare sector, ensuring that all employees participate in clinical updates, skill testing, and health and safety awareness is paramount. This training was once conducted in the classroom, but the digital potential here means that employers can set up mandatory training online and even monitor it for compliance, too. This saves on staffing time and gives clear reporting mechanisms directly to an organization.
Self-Management Education Resources
Online resources, which help people manage conditions like diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are another area of health care undergoing transformation. These resources often come with various materials, such as videos, online monitoring and more.
An example is the Scottish MyDiabetesMyWay, which lets patients monitor results and improve their knowledge of the disease by way of online education. My COPD is a self-management system for respiratory patients that can help keep people at home instead of in the hospital. There are also digital apps aimed at the prevention of ill health and diseases that help educate the public on a healthier lifestyle. An example is the Fixing Dad app used to prevent diabetes.
The healthcare sector is a busy place, and many difficulties arise when trying to find time to release staff for classroom instruction or training. Thankfully, employers can provide some education resources online via short videos or webinars. The impact of digital short clinical continuous education in healthcare is reaping benefits, with studies showing they improve outcomes and performance.
Short course learning online has proven to be cost effective and offer a positive educational effect, since it reduces the need for staff to take time off from the department. The advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) is another example where a short taster program can appear online, providing access for thousands of people and potentially promoting future study.
The Benefits of Forums and Virtual Clinics
Online forums and support groups can help patients during an illness or even students during an education program. In fact, having access to an online forum has positively impacted attendance and retention on online education courses. For younger patients, a forum can be more helpful than a traditional clinic or education update in self management.
In London, for example, one study looked at the connection between Skype usage in younger diabetic patients and clinic sessions and education. This was found to improve attendance in clinics.
Virtual clinic models, where a specialist works virtually with a generalist or office doctor, is yet another way clinicians can learn using online facilities. One example is with fracture clinics, where clinicians share knowledge and receive cost savings from not referring patients to a specialist center. Shared knowledge also occurs with a model of care, such as those in Wales where office doctors and specialists review cardiology patients online. This improves knowledge in primary care and helps avoid admissions.
The internet and related technologies offer huge opportunities for education in healthcare. From upskilling staff to enabling patients to care for themselves, the digital age has many ways of transforming the healthcare sector. If you want to develop a learning resource in healthcare or upgrade your current system to a digital one, know that Litmos has the creative healthcare sector solutions you need.