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JMIR Medical Education

 Technology, innovation and openess in medical education in the information age


Journal Description

JMIR Medical Education (JME) is a Pubmed-indexed, peer-reviewed journal with focus on technology, innovation and openess in medical education. Another focus is on how to train health professionals in the use of digital tools. We publish original research, reviews, viewpoint and policy papers on innovation and technology in medical education. As an open access journal we have a special interest in open and free tools and digitial learning objects for medical education, and urge authors to make their tools and learning objects freely available (we may also publish them as Multimedia Appendix). We also invite submissions of non-conventional articles (e.g. open medical education material and software resources that are not yet evaluated but free for others to use/implement). 

In our "Students' Corner", we invite students and trainees in the health professions to submit short essays and viewpoints on all aspects of medical education, but in particular suggestions on how to improve medical education, and suggestions for new technologies, applications and approaches (no article processing fees).

A sister journal of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), a leading eHealth journal (Impact Factor 2016: 5.175), the scope of JME is broader and includes non-Internet approaches to improve education, training and assessment for medical professionals and allied health professions.

Articles published in JME will be submitted to PubMed and Pubmed Central. JME is open access.


Recent Articles:

  • Medical student studying online material in radiology course. Source: UC Riverside School of Medicine; Copyright: UC Riverside School of Medicine; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    An Internet-Based Radiology Course in Medical School: Comparison of Academic Performance of Students on Campus Versus Those With Absenteeism Due to Residency...


    Background: Imaging and its optimal use are imperative to the practice of medicine, yet many students don’t receive a formal education in radiology. Concurrently, students look for ways to take time away from medical school for residency interviewing. Web-based instruction provides an opportunity to combine these imperatives using online modalities. Objective: A largely Web-based course in radiology during the 4th year of medical school was evaluated both for its acceptance to students who needed to be away from campus for interviews, and its effectiveness on a nationally administered standardized test. Methods: All students were placed into a structured program utilizing online videos, online modules, online textbook assignments, and live interactive online lectures. Over half of the course could be completed away from campus. The Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology test exam bank was used as a final exam to evaluate medical knowledge. Results: Positive student feedback included the freedom to travel for interviews, hands-on ultrasound training, interactive teaching sessions, and quality Web-based learning modules. Negative feedback included taking quizzes in-person, a perceived outdated online textbook, and physically shadowing hospital technicians. Most students elected to take the course during the interview months of October through January. The Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology final exam results (70.5%) were not significantly different than the national cohort (70%) who took the course in-person. Test scores from students taking the course during interview travel months were not significantly different from students who took the course before (P=.30) or after (P=.34) the interview season. Conclusions: Students desire to learn radiology and often choose to do so when they need to be away from campus during the fall of their 4th year of study to accomplish their residency interviews. Web-based education in radiology allows students’ interview traveling and radiology course objectives to be successfully met without adversely affecting the outcomes on a nationally normed examination in radiology. A curriculum that includes online content and live Web-based teleconference access to faculty can accomplish both imperatives.

  • Postgraduate medical e-learning. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Consensus on Quality Indicators of Postgraduate Medical E-Learning: Delphi Study


    Background: The progressive use of e-learning in postgraduate medical education calls for useful quality indicators. Many evaluation tools exist. However, these are diversely used and their empirical foundation is often lacking. Objective: We aimed to identify an empirically founded set of quality indicators to set the bar for “good enough” e-learning. Methods: We performed a Delphi procedure with a group of 13 international education experts and 10 experienced users of e-learning. The questionnaire started with 57 items. These items were the result of a previous literature review and focus group study performed with experts and users. Consensus was met when a rate of agreement of more than two-thirds was achieved. Results: In the first round, the participants accepted 37 items of the 57 as important, reached no consensus on 20, and added 15 new items. In the second round, we added the comments from the first round to the items on which there was no consensus and added the 15 new items. After this round, a total of 72 items were addressed and, of these, 37 items were accepted and 34 were rejected due to lack of consensus. Conclusions: This study produced a list of 37 items that can form the basis of an evaluation tool to evaluate postgraduate medical e-learning. This is, to our knowledge, the first time that quality indicators for postgraduate medical e-learning have been defined and validated. The next step is to create and validate an e-learning evaluation tool from these items.

  • Surgical knot tying. Source: US Air Force; Copyright: Benjamin Silva; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Instructional Video and Medical Student Surgical Knot-Tying Proficiency: Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Many senior medical students lack simple surgical and procedural skills such as knot tying. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether viewing a Web-based expert knot-tying training video, in addition to the standard third-year medical student curriculum, will result in more proficient surgical knot tying. Methods: At the start of their obstetrics and gynecology clerkship, 45 students were videotaped tying surgical knots for 2 minutes using a board model. Two blinded female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery physicians evaluated proficiency with a standard checklist (score range 0-16) and anchored scoring scale (range 0-20); higher numbers represent better skill. Students were then randomized to either (1) expert video (n=26) or (2) nonvideo (n=24) groups. The video group was provided unlimited access to an expert knot-tying instructional video. At the completion of the clerkship, students were again videotaped and evaluated. Results: At initial evaluation, preclerkship cumulative scores (range 0-36) on the standard checklist and anchored scale were not significantly different between the nonvideo and video groups (mean 20.3, SD 7.1 vs mean 20.2, SD 9.2, P=.90, respectively). Postclerkship scores improved in both the nonvideo and video groups (mean 28.4, SD 5.4, P<.001 and mean 28.7, SD 6.5, P=.004, respectively). Increased knot board practice was significantly correlated with higher postclerkship scores on the knot-tying task, but only in the video group (r=.47, P<.05). Conclusions: The addition of a Web-based expert instructional video to a standard curriculum, coupled with knot board practice, appears to have a positive impact on medical student knot-tying proficiency.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: DFID; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Jordan Field Epidemiology Training Program: Critical Role in National and Regional Capacity Building


    Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) are 2-year training programs in applied epidemiology, established with the purpose of increasing a country’s capacity within the public health workforce to detect and respond to health threats and develop internal expertise in field epidemiology. The Jordan Ministry of Health, in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, started the Jordan FETP (J-FETP) in 1998. Since then, it has achieved a high standard of success and has been established as a model for FETPs in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Here we describe the J-FETP, its role in building the epidemiologic capacity of Jordan’s public health workforce, and its activities and achievements, which have grown the program to be self-sustaining within the Jordan Ministry of Health. Since its inception, the program’s residents and graduates have assisted the country to improve its surveillance systems, including revising the mortality surveillance policy, implementing the use of electronic data reporting, investigating outbreaks at national and regional levels, contributing to noncommunicable disease research and surveillance, and responding to regional emergencies and disasters. J-FETP’s structure and systems of support from the Jordan Ministry of Health and local, regional, and international partners have contributed to the success and sustainability of the J-FETP. The J-FETP has contributed significantly to improvements in surveillance systems, control of infectious diseases, outbreak investigations, and availability of reliable morbidity and mortality data in Jordan. Moreover, the program has supported public health and epidemiology in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Best practices of the J-FETP can be applied to FETPs throughout the world.

  • A researcher examining how online lectures have been integrated into medical school curricula (montage). Source: The Authors /; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Online Lectures in Undergraduate Medical Education: Scoping Review


    Background: The adoption of the flipped classroom in undergraduate medical education calls on students to learn from various self-paced tools—including online lectures—before attending in-class sessions. Hence, the design of online lectures merits special attention, given that applying multimedia design principles has been shown to enhance learning outcomes. Objective: The aim of this study was to understand how online lectures have been integrated into medical school curricula, and whether published literature employs well-accepted principles of multimedia design. Methods: This scoping review followed the methodology outlined by Arksey and O'Malley (2005). Databases, including MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Education Source, FRANCIS, ERIC, and ProQuest, were searched to find articles from 2006 to 2016 related to online lecture use in undergraduate medical education. Results: In total, 45 articles met our inclusion criteria. Online lectures were used in preclinical and clinical years, covering basic sciences, clinical medicine, and clinical skills. The use of multimedia design principles was seldom reported. Almost all studies described high student satisfaction and improvement on knowledge tests following online lecture use. Conclusions: Integration of online lectures into undergraduate medical education is well-received by students and appears to improve learning outcomes. Future studies should apply established multimedia design principles to the development of online lectures to maximize their educational potential.

  • Residents using the smartphone application on their phone for education. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Improving Internal Medicine Residents’ Colorectal Cancer Screening Knowledge Using a Smartphone App: Pilot Study


    Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. About one in three adults in the United States is not getting the CRC screening as recommended. Internal medicine residents are deficient in CRC screening knowledge. Objective: The objective of our study was to assess the improvement in internal medicine residents’ CRC screening knowledge via a pilot approach using a smartphone app. Methods: We designed a questionnaire based on the CRC screening guidelines of the American Cancer Society, American College of Gastroenterology, and US Preventive Services Task Force. We emailed the questionnaire via a SurveyMonkey link to all the residents of an internal medicine department to assess their knowledge of CRC screening guidelines. Then we designed an educational intervention in the form of a smartphone app containing all the knowledge about the CRC screening guidelines. The residents were introduced to the app and asked to download it onto their smartphones. We repeated the survey to test for changes in the residents’ knowledge after publication of the smartphone app and compared the responses with the previous survey. We applied the Pearson chi-square test and the Fisher exact test to look for statistical significance. Results: A total of 50 residents completed the first survey and 41 completed the second survey after publication of the app. Areas of CRC screening that showed statistically significant improvement (P<.05) were age at which CRC screening was started in African Americans, preventive tests being ordered first, identification of CRC screening tests, identification of preventive and detection methods, following up positive tests with colonoscopy, follow-up after colonoscopy findings, and CRC surveillance in diseases. Conclusions: In this modern era of smartphones and gadgets, developing a smartphone-based app or educational tool is a novel idea and can help improve residents’ knowledge about CRC screening.

  • The interactive multimedia module, featuring a game-based quiz (montage). Source: The Authors / Magic Mockups; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Mobile Technology in E-Learning for Undergraduate Medical Education on Emergent Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Disorders: Pilot Randomized...


    Background: The use of mobile technology in e-learning (M-TEL) can add new levels of experience and significantly increase the attractiveness of e-learning in medical education. Whether an innovative interactive e-learning multimedia (IM) module or a conventional PowerPoint show (PPS) module using M-TEL to teach emergent otorhinolaryngology–head and neck surgery (ORL-HNS) disorders is feasible and efficient in undergraduate medical students is unknown. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the impact of a novel IM module with a conventional PPS module using M-TEL for emergent ORL-HNS disorders with regard to learning outcomes, satisfaction, and learning experience. Methods: This pilot study was conducted at an academic teaching hospital and included 24 undergraduate medical students who were novices in ORL-HNS. The cognitive style was determined using the Group Embedded Figures Test. The participants were randomly allocated (1:1) to one of the two groups matched by age, sex, and cognitive style: the IM group and the PPS group. During the 100-min learning period, the participants were unblinded to use the IM or PPS courseware on a 7-inch tablet. Pretests and posttests using multiple-choice questions to evaluate knowledge and multimedia situational tests to evaluate competence were administered. Participants evaluated their satisfaction and learning experience by the AttrakDiff2 questionnaire, and provided feedback about the modules. Results: Overall, the participants had significant gains in knowledge (median of percentage change 71, 95% CI 1-100, P<.001) and competence (median of percentage change 25, 95% CI 0-33, P=.007) after 100 min of learning. Although there was no significant difference in knowledge gain between the two groups (median of difference of percentage change 24, 95% CI −75 to 36; P=.55), competence gain was significantly lower in the IM group compared with the PPS group (median of difference of percentage change −41, 95% CI −67 to −20; P=.008). However, the IM group had significantly higher scores of satisfaction (difference 2, 95% CI 2-4; P=.01), pragmatic quality (difference 1.7, 95% CI 0.1-2.7; P=.03), and hedonic stimulation (difference 1.9, 95% CI 0.3-3.1; P=.01) compared with the PPS group. Qualitative feedback indicated that the various games in the IM module attracted the participants’ attention but that the nonlinearly arranged materials affected their learning. Conclusions: Using M-TEL for undergraduate medical education on emergent ORL-HNS disorders, an IM module seems to be useful for gaining knowledge, but competency may need to occur elsewhere. While the small sample size reduces the statistical power of our results, its design seems to be appropriate to determine the effects of M-TEL using a larger group. Trial Registration: NCT02971735; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Particip8 app screenshot. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Self-Reflected Well-Being via a Smartphone App in Clinical Medical Students: Feasibility Study


    Background: Well-being in medical students has become an area of concern, with a number of studies reporting high rates of clinical depression, anxiety, burnout, and suicidal ideation in this population. Objective: The aim of this study was to increase awareness of well-being in medical students by using a smartphone app. The primary objective of this study was to determine the validity and feasibility of the Particip8 app for student self-reflected well-being data collection. Methods: Undergraduate medical students of the Dunedin School of Medicine were recruited into the study. They were asked to self-reflect daily on their well-being and to note what experiences they had encountered during that day. Qualitative data were also collected both before and after the study in the form of focus groups and “free-text” email surveys. All participants consented for the data collected to be anonymously reported to the medical faculty. Results: A total of 29 participants (69%, 20/29 female; 31%, 9/29 male; aged 21-30 years) were enrolled, with overall median compliance of 71% at the study day level. The self-reflected well-being scores were associated with both positive and negative experiences described by the participants, with most negative experiences associated with around 20% lower well-being scores for that day; the largest effect being “receiving feedback that was not constructive or helpful,” and the most positive experiences associated with around 20% higher scores for that day. Conclusions: The study of daily data collection via the Particip8 app was found to be feasible, and the self-reflected well-being scores showed validity against participant’s reflections of experiences during that day.

  • SPOC course [montage]. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    The Impact of a Small Private Online Course as a New Approach to Teaching Oncology: Development and Evaluation


    Background: Oncology involves complex care and multidisciplinary management of patients; however, misinformation and ineffective communication remain problematic. Objective: The educational objective of our study was to develop a new teaching method to improve cancer treatment and management by emphasizing the link between hospitals (inpatients) and their surrounding communities (outpatients). Methods: A team of 22 professionals from public and private institutions developed a small private online course (SPOC). Each offering of the course lasted 6 weeks and covered 6 topics: individual health care plans, cancer surgery, ionizing radiation, cancer medicines, clinical research, and oncological supportive care. For participants in the course, we targeted people working in the cancer field. The SPOC used an active teaching method with collaborative and multidisciplinary learning. A final examination was offered in each session. We evaluated participants’ satisfaction rate through a questionnaire and the success of the SPOC by participants’ completion, success, and commitment rates. Results: Of the total participants (N=1574), 446 completed the evaluation form. Most participants were aged 31 to 45 years. Participants included 56 nurses, 131 pharmacists, 80 from the medical field (including 26 physicians), 53 from patients’ associations, 28 health teachers, and 13 students (medical and paramedical). Among the participants, 24.7% (90/446) had an independent medical practice, 38.5% (140/446) worked in a public institution, and 36.8% (134/446) worked in a private institution. After completing the SPOC sessions, 85.9% (384/446) thought they had learned new information, 90.8% (405/446) felt their expectations were met, and 90.4% (403/446) considered that the information had a positive impact on their professional practice. The completion rate was 35.51% (559/1574), the success rate was 71.47% (1025/1574), and the commitment rate was 64.67% (1018/1574). Concerning the cost effectiveness of SPOC compared with a traditional classroom of 25 students, online education became more effective when there were more than 950 participants. Conclusions: SPOCs improved the management of oncology patients. This new digital learning technique is an attractive concept to integrate into teaching practice. It offered optimal propagation of information and met the students’ expectations.

  • Learners' peer interaction. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-ND).

    Increasing Reasoning Awareness: Video Analysis of Students’ Two-Party Virtual Patient Interactions


    Background: Collaborative reasoning occurs in clinical practice but is rarely developed during education. The computerized virtual patient (VP) cases allow for a stepwise exploration of cases and thus stimulate active learning. Peer settings during VP sessions are believed to have benefits in terms of reasoning but have received scant attention in the literature. Objective: The objective of this study was to thoroughly investigate interactions during medical students’ clinical reasoning in two-party VP settings. Methods: An in-depth exploration of students’ interactions in dyad settings of VP sessions was performed. For this purpose, two prerecorded VP sessions lasting 1 hour each were observed, transcribed in full, and analyzed. The transcriptions were analyzed using thematic analysis, and short clips from the videos were selected for subsequent analysis in relation to clinical reasoning and clinical aspects. Results: Four categories of interactions were identified: (1) task-related dialogue, in which students negotiated a shared understanding of the task and strategies for information gathering; (2) case-related insights and perspectives were gained, and the students consolidated and applied preexisting biomedical knowledge into a clinical setting; (3) clinical reasoning interactions were made explicit. In these, hypotheses were followed up and clinical examples were used. The researchers observed interactions not only between students and the VP but also (4) interactions with other resources, such as textbooks. The interactions are discussed in relation to theories of clinical reasoning and peer learning. Conclusions: The dyad VP setting is conducive to activities that promote analytic clinical reasoning. In this setting, components such as peer interaction, access to different resources, and reduced time constraints provided a productive situation in which the students pursued different lines of reasoning.

  • Source: US Army; Copyright: Corey Toye; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Evaluating the Effect of a Web-Based E-Learning Tool for Health Professional Education on Clinical Vancomycin Use: Comparative Study


    Background: Internet-based learning for health professional education is increasing. It offers advantages over traditional learning approaches, as it enables learning to be completed at a time convenient to the user and improves access where facilities are geographically disparate. We developed and implemented the Vancomycin Interactive (VI) e-learning tool to improve knowledge on the clinical use of the antibiotic vancomycin, which is commonly used for treatment of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Objective: The aims of this study were to evaluate the effect of the VI e-learning tool on (1) survey knowledge scores and (2) clinical use of vancomycin among health professionals. Methods: We conducted a comparative pre-post intervention study across the 14 hospitals of two health districts in New South Wales, Australia. A knowledge survey was completed by nurses, doctors, and pharmacists before and after release of a Web-based e-learning tool. Survey scores were compared with those obtained following traditional education in the form of an email intervention. Survey questions related to dosing, administration, and monitoring of vancomycin. Outcome measures were survey knowledge scores among the three health professional groups, vancomycin plasma trough levels, and vancomycin approvals recorded on a computerized clinical decision support system. Results: Survey response rates were low at 26.87% (577/2147) preintervention and 8.24% (177/2147) postintervention. The VI was associated with an increase in knowledge scores (maximum score=5) among nurses (median 2, IQR 1-2 to median 2, IQR 1-3; P<.001), but not among other professional groups. The comparator email intervention was associated with an increase in knowledge scores among doctors (median 3, IQR 2-4 to median 4, IQR 2-4; P=.04). Participants who referred to Web-based resources while completing the e-learning tool achieved higher overall scores than those who did not (P<.001). The e-learning tool was not shown to be significantly more effective than the comparator email in the clinical use of vancomycin, as measured by plasma levels within the therapeutic range. Conclusions: The e-learning tool was associated with improved knowledge scores among nurses, whereas the comparator email was associated with improved scores among doctors. This implies that different strategies may be required for optimizing the effectiveness of education among different health professional groups. Low survey response rates limited conclusions regarding the tool’s effectiveness. Improvements to design and evaluation methodology may increase the likelihood of a demonstrable effect from e-learning tools in the future.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: StockSnap; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Medical YouTube Videos and Methods of Evaluation: Literature Review


    Background: Online medical education has relevance to public health literacy and physician efficacy, yet it requires a certain standard of reliability. While the internet has the potential to be a viable medical education tool, the viewer must be able to discern which information is reliable. Objective: Our aim was to perform a literature review to determine and compare the various methods used when analyzing YouTube videos for patient education efficacy, information accuracy, and quality. Methods: In November 2016, a comprehensive search within PubMed and Embase resulted in 37 included studies. Results: The review revealed that each video evaluation study first established search terms, exclusion criteria, and methods to analyze the videos in a consistent manner. The majority of the evaluators devised a scoring system, but variations were innumerable within each study’s methods. Conclusions: In comparing the 37 studies, we found that overall, common steps were taken to evaluate the content. However, a concrete set of methods did not exist. This is notable since many patients turn to the internet for medical information yet lack the tools to evaluate the advice being given. There was, however, a common aim of discovering what health-related content the public is accessing, and how credible that material is.

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