What plagues the world today in terms of healthcare? Apart from the access to basic healthcare in the remotest corners of the world, it’s the quality of services and shortage of skilled healthcare professionals. Especially in developing countries, this is a serious challenge that needs a resolution. As has been the case of technology revolutionizing almost all aspects of our lives, healthcare is seeing some major interventions and disruptions as well. Online medical education and learning are slowly gaining prominence not just in developed countries but also spreading its wings in countries that have been resource crunched.
Online healthcare learning is proving to be a boon particularly in the developing world where trained healthcare professionals are in paucity. Even when there are experienced and trained personnel on duty, they need to stay updated with the latest technology and happenings in their respective fields. With digital tools like podcasts, webinars, online classes and communities, video conferencing, app-based learning, etc., now even the frontline healthcare professionals even in the far-flung corners of the world can benefit from this, update their skills and stay relevant.
What’s even better for online medical learning is that it supplements and supports hospitals in training their staff. Case in point – software designed by Lifetrack Medical Systems is used by many hospitals around the world. With this software, radiology residents receive virtual training from qualified practitioners from around the world. This proves to be a blessing for places like Indonesia and Myanmar which face acute radiologist shortages.
Continuing Medical Education (CME) is also finding its way in India by filling the huge gap between disease knowledge and required trained professionals. Glaucoma has a high prevalence in India. Poor patient awareness coupled with factors such as inadequate resident training and cost of medications makes glaucoma an extremely dangerous condition with a large potential for causing irreversible visual impairment in millions of patients. Keeping this into consideration, the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), in partnership with DocMode, recently introduced CME online courses on glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology for ophthalmologists. The online courses will enable practicing ophthalmologists and optometrists in gaining a reasonable understanding of the diagnosis of primary open-angle glaucoma and its management. Besides, it will also facilitate competence in the neuro-ophthalmic examination, diagnosis, and management of common, critical and potentially extreme neuro-ophthalmic conditions amongst the patients.
Online learning has a big and crucial role to play in the coming years to support the healthcare system and enable access to healthcare to every corner of the world.