How Technology is Filling the Gaps in Pre-Medical Education and Preparedness

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The ever-changing state of technology in all fields compels stakeholders to stay up-to-date and take appropriate steps to upgrade. Medical education and health care are no exception. The landscape of medical education is changing dramatically due to a variety of factors including the changing healthcare environment, changes in the role of the physician, societal expectations, and changes in medical science.

About 600,000 articles are published each year in the biomedical literature. A conscientious student who reads two articles a day would be over 800 years behind in 1 year if he tried to keep up with literature. Despite the profession’s longstanding belief that physicians must learn continuously, this concept is now imperative. Additionally, there is a new generation of learners – “digital natives”. It is young people born into the digital world who have mastered the language of technology. They are accustomed to technology-enhanced learning environments and expect their education to reflect their expertise at varying levels of technology integration. However, medicine is changing rapidly by bridging the gap in medical education and its preparation.

Understanding Emerging Technology in Medical Education

Technology is used in medical education to facilitate basic knowledge acquisition, improve decision making, improve perceptual variation, improve coordination skills, train for rare events or criticism and to improve psychomotor skills. These goals can be achieved with different technologies. To transform learning into a collaborative, personalized and rewarding experience, it is incumbent on medical educators to implement these new technologies effectively.

We have seen that emerging technology has the power to transform the future provision of higher education. The two main changes being considered are adaptive learning and extended reality.

With adaptive learning, students can access a wide range of learning resources and educators can gain insight into how students are learning through their experiences. With these new approaches, students will be able to obtain personalized learning tailored to their individual needs, and the time required for individual skill development as well as face-to-face interaction with educators will be reduced.

Extended Reality provides students with learning experiences that can either mix physical and virtual elements, or provide a completely virtual immersive experience. The immersive experience can be delivered via headsets or mobile devices. These sophisticated experiences can be applied to a range of clinical topics, from communication and clinical skills to the deliberate practice of surgical procedures, as well as integrated with adaptive learning to achieve even greater benefits.

The blend of adaptive learning and extended reality has the potential to completely transform medical education. With Extended Reality or XR, medical students preparing for exams can benefit from feedback, repetitive practice, program integrations, range of difficulty levels, multiple learning strategies, capturing clinical variation, individual learning and ability to define outcomes or benchmarks. Education Growth Advisors research on the use of adaptive learning found an 18% increase in pass rates and a 47% decrease in course dropouts. With adaptive online learning environments, student profiles can be created and simple adaptive techniques can be used to provide a personalized learning experience.

With the advancement of screen capture and webcasting technologies, large group in-person conferences have been replaced by online streaming conferences. These learning resources are all easily accessible from mobile devices. Currently available technologies such as videos, podcasts, simple virtual reality, computer simulations and serious games are implemented by coaching institutes like Dr. Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute to help educators and facilitate the learning and training students in these areas, while having medical educators remotely coach students with real-time mobile video tools and apps.

A growing body of medical knowledge and a more complex health care system present greater challenges for teachers and learners of medicine. With medical school curricula already filled with conventional material, it can be difficult to find time to teach the rapidly expanding medical field. As a result, traditional teaching models have not been able to keep up with these changes. New teaching methods integrating technology in education have therefore emerged.

Increasingly, the prevailing pandemic situation is forcing medical education to use e-learning instead of conventional education. Considering minimal costs, flexibility, reduced reliance on local or regional barriers, online, offline, simulation and learning function of mobile apps, the technology can be considered as a complementary tool effective in medical education.

The article is authored by Dr. Nachiket Bhatia, CEO, Dr. Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute and E-Gurukul


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