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Journal Description

JMIR Medical Education (JME) is an open access, Pubmed-indexed, peer-reviewed journal with focus on technology, innovation and openess in medical education. Another focus is on how to train health professionals to use 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 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 (eg, 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 from various 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) are the main focuses.

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

 

Recent Articles:

  • Source: Freepik.com; Copyright: prostooleh; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/medical-students-are-hallway-talking_7368637.htm#page=1&query=medical%20student&position=13; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    The United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 Is Changing—US Medical Curricula Should Too

    Authors List:

    Abstract:

    In recent years, US medical students have been increasingly absent from medical school classrooms. They do so to maximize their competitiveness for a good residency program, by achieving high scores on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1. As a US medical student, I know that most of these class-skipping students are utilizing external learning resources, which are perceived to be more efficient than traditional lectures. Now that the USMLE Step 1 is adopting a pass/fail grading system, it may be tempting to expect students to return to traditional basic science lectures. Unfortunately, my experiences tell me this will not happen. Instead, US medical schools must adapt their curricula. These new curricula should focus on clinical decision making, team-based learning, and new medical decision technologies, while leveraging the validated ability of these external resources to teach the basic sciences. In doing so, faculty will not only increase student engagement but also modernize the curricula to meet new standards on effective medical learning.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: protoolseh; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/medical-students-are-hallway-masks_7368640.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    The Present and Future Applications of Technology in Adapting Medical Education Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Authors List:

    Abstract:

    The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has not only been catastrophic toward patient health but has also proven to be incredibly disruptive to several industries and sectors, including medical education. However, many medical schools have employed various technological solutions in order to minimize the disruption to medical education during this unpredictable time. This viewpoint reviews the various current and potential applications of technology in order to adapt medical education amidst a global pandemic.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: senivpetro; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/young-woman-using-phone-outside-night-street_5852125.htm#page=1&query=woman%20using%20smartphone&position=27; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Medical Student Utilization of a Novel Web-Based Platform (Psy-Q) for Question-Based Learning in Psychiatry: Pilot Questionnaire Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Medical students are turning to new and expanding web-based resources for learning during their psychiatry clerkships; however, there have not been concomitant efforts by educators to utilize web-based tools to promote innovative teaching. Objective: Utilizing a free learning platform (Psy-Q) created by our team, we sought to explore how digital technology may engage medical student learners, promote colearning between educators and medical students, and support sustainability of web-based platforms through crowdsourcing. Methods: Between 2017 and 2019, seven medical schools offered access to the platform during medical students’ psychiatry clerkships. Use of the web-based platform was voluntary and not monitored or related to clerkship evaluation. Medical students completed a paper and pencil assessment of the platform at the end of their clerkship. Anonymous and aggregated website use data were gathered in accordance with institutional review board approval. Results: A total of 203 medical students across seven distinct psychiatry clerkships completed the survey. Of these students, 123 (60.6%) reported using the platform and reported accessing a mean of 45 questions. The most common device used to access the platform was a laptop and the second most common was a smartphone. The most common location to access the platform was home and the second most common was the hospital. Although few students contributed new questions, website utilization data suggested that all rated the quality and difficulty of the questions. Higher quality questions were medical students’ main suggestion for further improvement. Conclusions: Our results suggest the feasibility and potential of educator- and learner-created web-based platforms to augment psychiatry education and develop relevant accessible resources in the digital sphere. Future work should focus on measuring objective educational outcomes of question taking and writing, as well as optimizing technology and exploring sustainable trainee-faculty partnership models for the creation and curation of content.

  • Source: iStock; Copyright: PhonlamaiPhoto; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/robot-with-ai-gm917581126-252430809; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Artificial Intelligence Education and Tools for Medical and Health Informatics Students: Systematic Review

    Abstract:

    Background: The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine will generate numerous application possibilities to improve patient care, provide real-time data analytics, and enable continuous patient monitoring. Clinicians and health informaticians should become familiar with machine learning and deep learning. Additionally, they should have a strong background in data analytics and data visualization to use, evaluate, and develop AI applications in clinical practice. Objective: The main objective of this study was to evaluate the current state of AI training and the use of AI tools to enhance the learning experience. Methods: A comprehensive systematic review was conducted to analyze the use of AI in medical and health informatics education, and to evaluate existing AI training practices. PRISMA-P (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols) guidelines were followed. The studies that focused on the use of AI tools to enhance medical education and the studies that investigated teaching AI as a new competency were categorized separately to evaluate recent developments. Results: This systematic review revealed that recent publications recommend the integration of AI training into medical and health informatics curricula. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review exploring the current state of AI education in both medicine and health informatics. Since AI curricula have not been standardized and competencies have not been determined, a framework for specialized AI training in medical and health informatics education is proposed.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/man-using-laptop-near-books_2587152.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Wikipedia in Vascular Surgery Medical Education: Comparative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Medical students commonly refer to Wikipedia as their preferred online resource for medical information. The quality and readability of articles about common vascular disorders on Wikipedia has not been evaluated or compared against a standard textbook of surgery. Objective: The aims of this study were to (1) compare the quality of Wikipedia articles to that of equivalent chapters in a standard undergraduate medical textbook of surgery, (2) identify any errors of omission in either resource, and (3) compare the readability of both resources using validated ease-of-reading and grade-level tools. Methods: Using the Medical Council of Canada Objectives for the Qualifying Examination, 8 fundamental topics of vascular surgery were chosen. The articles were found on Wikipedia using Wikipedia’s native search engine. The equivalent chapters were identified in Schwartz Principles of Surgery (ninth edition). Medical learners (n=2) assessed each of the texts on their original platforms to independently evaluate readability, quality, and errors of omission. Readability was evaluated with Flesch Reading Ease scores and 5 grade-level scores (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning Fog Index, Coleman-Liau Index, Simple Measure of Gobbledygook Index, and Automated Readability Index), quality was evaluated using the DISCERN instrument, and errors of omission were evaluated using a standardized scoring system that was designed by the authors. Results: Flesch Reading Ease scores suggested that Wikipedia (mean 30.5; SD 8.4) was significantly easier to read (P=.03) than Schwartz (mean 20.2; SD 9.0). The mean grade level (calculated using all grade-level indices) of the Wikipedia articles (mean 14.2; SD 1.3) was significantly different (P=.02) than the mean grade level of Schwartz (mean 15.9; SD 1.4). The quality of the text was also assessed using the DISCERN instrument and suggested that Schwartz (mean 71.4; SD 3.1) had a significantly higher quality (P=.002) compared to that of Wikipedia (mean 52.9; SD 11.4). Finally, the Wikipedia error of omission rate (mean 12.5; SD 6.8) was higher than that of Schwartz (mean 21.3; SD 1.9) indicating that there were significantly fewer errors of omission in the surgical textbook (P=.008). Conclusions: Online resources are increasingly easier to access but can vary in quality. Based on this comparison, the authors of this study recommend the use of vascular surgery textbooks as a primary source of learning material because the information within is more consistent in quality and has fewer errors of omission. Wikipedia can be a useful resource for quick reference, particularly because of its ease of reading, but its vascular surgery articles require further development.

  • Source: pexels.com; Copyright: Pixabay; URL: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-biology-chemical-chemist-356040/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    COVID-19 Can Catalyze the Modernization of Medical Education

    Abstract:

    Amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, we have witnessed true physicianship as our frontline doctors apply clinical problem-solving to an illness without a textbook algorithm. Yet, for over a century, medical education in the United States has plowed ahead with a system that prioritizes content delivery over problem-solving. As resident trainees, we are acutely aware that memorizing content is not enough. We need a preclinical system designed to steer early learners from “know” to “know how.” Education leaders have long advocated for such changes to the medical school structure. For what may be the first time, we have a real chance to effect change. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, medical educators have scrambled to conform curricula to social distancing mandates. The resulting online infrastructures are a rare chance for risk-averse medical institutions to modernize how we train our future physicians—starting by eliminating the traditional classroom lecture. Institutions should capitalize on new digital infrastructures and curricular flexibility to facilitate the eventual rollout of flipped classrooms—a system designed to cultivate not only knowledge acquisition but problem-solving skills and creativity. These skills are more vital than ever for modern physicians.

  • Medical students talking in a group. Source: iStockphoto; Copyright: Creative Commons; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/medical-students-sitting-and-talking-gm532548533-56073058; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Self-Perceptions of Readiness to Use Electronic Health Records Among Medical Students: Survey Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Although several national organizations have declared the ability to work with electronic health records (EHRs) as a core competency of medical education, EHR education and use among medical students vary widely. Previous studies have reported EHR tasks performed by medical students, but students’ self-perceived readiness and comfort with EHRs are relatively unknown. Objective: This study aimed to better understand medical students’ self-perceived readiness to use EHRs to identify potential curricular gaps and inform future training efforts based on students’ perspectives. Methods: The authors deployed a survey investigating self-perceived comfort with EHRs at 2 institutions in the United States in May 2019. Descriptive statistics were generated regarding demographics, comfort level with various EHR-related tasks, and cross-institutional comparisons. We also assessed the impact of extracurricular EHR experience on comfort level. Results: In total, 147 medical students responded, of which 80 (54.4%) were female, with equal distribution across all 4 years of training. Overall confidence was generally higher for students with longer extracurricular EHR experience, even when adjusted for age, gender, year of training, and institution. Students were most comfortable with tasks related to looking up information in the EHR and felt less comfortable with tasks related to entering new information and managing medications. Fourth-year students at both schools reported similar levels of comfort with EHR use, despite differences in preclinical EHR training. Open-ended comments emphasized the value of experiential training over didactic formats. Conclusions: Information entry and medication management in the EHR represent areas for future curricular development. Experiential training via extracurricular activities and early clinical exposure may be high-yield approaches to help medical students achieve critical EHR competencies.

  • Viewpoint "EMAIL USE RECONSIDERED IN HEALTH PROFESSIONS EDUCATION". Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: Natali_Mis; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/doctor-makes-sending-email-gm693373528-128034909; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Email Use Reconsidered in Health Professions Education: Viewpoint

    Abstract:

    Email has become a popular means of communication in the past 40 years, with more than 200 billion emails sent each day worldwide. When used appropriately, email can be an effective and useful form of correspondence, although improper practices, such as email incivility, can present challenges. Email is ubiquitous in education and health care, where it is used for student-to-teacher, provider-to-provider, and patient-to-provider communications, but not all students, faculty members, and health professionals are skilled in its use. This paper examines the challenges and opportunities posed by email communication in health professions education and reveals important deficiencies in training, as well as steps that can be taken by health professions educators to address them. Recommendations are offered to help health professions educators develop approaches for teaching email professionalism.

  • Source: Shutterstock; Copyright: George Rudy; URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cropped-image-successful-medical-doctors-discussing-582901018; License: Licensed by the authors.

    A Mobile Medical Knowledge Dissemination Platform (HeadToToe): Mixed Methods Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Finding readily accessible, high-quality medical references can be a challenging task. HeadToToe is a mobile platform designed to allow easy and quick access to sound, up-to-date, and validated medical knowledge and guidance. It provides easy access to essential clinical medical content in the form of documents, videos, clinical scores, and other formats for the day-to-day access and use by medical students and physicians during their pre- and postgraduate education. Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the architecture, user interface, and potential strengths and limitations of an innovative knowledge dissemination platform developed at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. We also report preliminary results from a user-experience survey and usage statistics over a selected period. Methods: The dissemination platform consists of a smartphone app. Through an administration interface, content is managed by senior university and hospital staff. The app includes the following sections: (1) main section of medical guidance, organized by clinical field; (2) checklists for history-taking and clinical examination, organized by body systems; (3) laboratory section with frequently used lab values; and (4) favorites section. Each content item is programmed to be available for a given duration as defined by the content’s author. Automatic notifications signal the author when the content is about to expire, hence, promoting its timely updating and reducing the risk of using obsolete content. In the background, a third-party statistical collecting tool records anonymous utilization statistics. Results: We launched the final version of the platform in March 2019, both at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva and at the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland. A total of 622 students at the university and 613 health professionals at the hospital downloaded the app. Two-thirds of users at both institutions had an iOS device. During the practical examination period (ie, May 2019) there was a significant increase in the number of active users (P=.003), user activity (P<.001), and daily usage time (P<.001) among medical students. In addition, there were 1086 clinical skills video views during this period compared to a total of 484 in the preceding months (ie, a 108% increase). On a 10-point Likert scale, students and physicians rated the app with mean scores of 8.2 (SD 1.9) for user experience, 8.1 (SD 2.0) for usefulness, and 8.5 (SD 1.8) for relevance of content. In parallel, postgraduate trainees viewed more than 6000 documents during the first 3 months after the implementation in the Division of Neurology at our institution. Conclusions: HeadToToe is an educator-driven, mobile dissemination platform, which provides rapid and user-friendly access to up-to-date medical content and guidance. The platform was given high ratings for user experience, usefulness, and content quality and was used more often during the exam period. This suggests that the platform could be used as tool for exam preparation.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: World Bank Photo Collection; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/9129089214/; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    Finding the Best Way to Deliver Online Educational Content in Low-Resource Settings: Qualitative Survey Study

    Authors List:

    Abstract:

    Background: The reach of internet and mobile phone coverage has grown rapidly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The potential for sharing knowledge with health care workers in low-resource settings to improve working practice is real, but barriers exist that limit access to online information. Burns affect more than 11 million people each year, but health care workers in low-resource settings receive little or no training in treating burn patients. Interburns' training programs are tailor-made to improve the quality of burn care in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; the challenge is to understand the best way of delivering these resources digitally toward improved treatment and care of burn patients. Objective: The aim of the study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), was to understand issues and barriers that affect health care worker access to online learning in low-resource settings in order to broaden access to Interburns' training materials and improve burn-patient care. Methods: A total of 546 participants of Interburns' Essential Burn Care (EBC) course held in Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, and the West Bank, the occupied Palestinian Territories, between January 2016 and June 2018 were sent an online survey. EBC participants represent the wide range of health care professionals involved with the burn-injured patient. A literature review was carried out as well as research into online platforms. Results: A total of 207 of 546 (37.9%) participants of the EBC course did not provide an email address. Of the 339 email addresses provided, 81 (23.9%) “bounced” back. Surgeons and doctors were more likely to provide an email address than nurses, intern doctors, or auxiliary health care workers. A total of 258 participants received the survey and 70 responded, giving a response rate of 27.1%. Poor internet connection, lack of time, and limited access to computers were the main reasons for not engaging with online learning, along with lack of relevant materials. Computers were seen as more useful for holding information, while mobile phones were better for communicating and sharing knowledge. Health care workers in LMICs use mobile phones professionally on a daily basis. A total of 80% (56/70) felt that educational content on burns should be available through mobile apps. Conclusions: Health care workers in low-resource settings face a variety of barriers to accessing educational content online. The reliance on email for sign-up to learning management systems is a significant barrier. Materials need to be relevant, localized, and easy to consume offline if necessary, to avoid costs of mobile phone data. Smartphones are increasingly used professionally every day for communication and searching for information, pointing toward the need for tailored educational content to be more available through mobile- and web-based apps.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://mededu.jmir.org/2020/1/e14140/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    A Virtual 3D Dynamic Model of Caries Lesion Progression as a Learning Object for Caries Detection Training and Teaching: Video Development Study

    Abstract:

    Background: In the last decade, 3D virtual models have been used for educational purposes in the health sciences, specifically for teaching human anatomy and pathology. These models provide an opportunity to didactically visualize key spatial relations that can be poorly understood when taught by traditional educational approaches. Caries lesion detection is a crucial process in dentistry that has been reported to be difficult to learn. One especially difficult aspect is linking clinical characteristics of the different severity stages with their histological features, which is fundamental for treatment decision-making. Objective: This project was designed to develop a virtual 3D digital model of caries lesion formation and progression to aid the detection of lesions at different severity stages as a potential complement to traditional lectures. Methods: Pedagogical planning, including identification of objectives, exploration of the degree of difficulty of caries diagnosis–associated topics perceived by dental students and lecturers, review of the literature regarding key concepts, and consultation of experts, was performed prior to constructing the model. An educational script strategy was created based on the topics to be addressed (dental tissues, biofilm stagnation areas, the demineralization process, caries lesion progression on occlusal surfaces, clinical characteristics related to different stages of caries progression, and histological correlations). Virtual 3D models were developed using the Virtual Man Project and refined using multiple 3D software applications. In the next phase, computer graphic modelling and previsualization were executed. After that, the video was revised and edited based on suggestions. Finally, explanatory subtitles were generated, the models were textured and rendered, and voiceovers in 3 languages were implemented. Results: We developed a 6-minute virtual 3D dynamic video in 3 languages (English, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese) intended for dentists and dental students to support teaching and learning of caries lesion detection. The videos were made available on YouTube; to date, they have received more than 100,000 views. Conclusions: Complementary pedagogical tools are valuable to support cariology education. This tool will be further tested in terms of utility and usability as well as user satisfaction in achieving the proposed objectives in specific contexts.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: University Library of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/librarynaukma/24371562512/; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA).

    A Peer-Led Social Media Intervention to Improve Interest in Research Careers Among Urban Youth: Mixed Methods Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Novel methods to boost interest in scientific research careers among minority youth are largely unexplored. Social media offers a unique avenue toward influencing teen behavior and attitudes, and can therefore be utilized to stimulate interest in clinical research. Objective: The aim of this study was to engage high-achieving minority youth enrolled in a science pipeline program to develop a targeted social media marketing campaign for boosting interest in clinical research careers among their peers. Methods: Students enrolled in the Training Early Achievers for Careers in Health program conducted focus groups in their communities to inform themes that best promote clinical research. They then scripted, storyboarded, and filmed a short video to share on social media with a campaign hashtag. Additionally, each student enrolled peers from their social circle to be subjects of the study. Subjects were sent a Career Orientation Survey at baseline to assess preliminary interest in clinical research careers and again after the campaign to assess how they saw the video, their perceptions of the video, and interest in clinical research careers after watching the video. Subjects who did not see the video through the online campaign were invited to watch the video via a link on the postsurvey. Interest change scores were calculated using differences in Likert-scale responses to the question “how interested are you in a career in clinical research?” An ordinal logistic regression model was used to test the association between watching a peer-shared video, perception of entertainment, and interest change score controlling for underrepresented minorities in medicine status (Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander), gender, and baseline interest in medical or clinical research careers. Results: From 2014 to 2017, 325 subjects were enrolled as part of 4 distinct campaigns: #WhereScienceMeetsReality, #RedefiningResearch, #DoYourResearch, and #LifeWithoutResearch. Over half (n=180) of the subjects watched the video via the campaign, 227/295 (76.9%) found the video entertaining, and 92/325 (28.3%) demonstrated baseline interest in clinical research. The ordinal logistic regression model showed that subjects who viewed the video from a peer (odds ratio [OR] 1.56, 95% CI 1.00-2.44, P=.05) or found the video entertaining (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.01-1.82, P=.04) had greater odds of increasing interest in a clinical research career. Subjects with a higher baseline interest in medicine (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.28-1.87, P<.001) also had greater odds of increasing their interest in clinical research. Conclusions: The spread of authentic and relevant peer-created messages via social media can increase interest in clinical research careers among diverse teens. Peer-driven social media campaigns should be explored as a way to effectively recruit minority youth into scientific research careers.

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