JMIR Publications

JMIR Medical Education

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


Journal Description

JMIR Medical Education (JME) is a new 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 2015: 4.532), 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:

  • Image source: Copyright Licensed under Creative Commons CC0 license. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

    When Educational Material Is Delivered: A Mixed Methods Content Validation Study of the Information Assessment Method


    Background: The Information Assessment Method (IAM) allows clinicians to report the cognitive impact, clinical relevance, intention to use, and expected patient health benefits associated with clinical information received by email. More than 15,000 Canadian physicians and pharmacists use the IAM in continuing education programs. In addition, information providers can use IAM ratings and feedback comments from clinicians to improve their products. Objective: Our general objective was to validate the IAM questionnaire for the delivery of educational material (ecological and logical content validity). Our specific objectives were to measure the relevance and evaluate the representativeness of IAM items for assessing information received by email. Methods: A 3-part mixed methods study was conducted (convergent design). In part 1 (quantitative longitudinal study), the relevance of IAM items was measured. Participants were 5596 physician members of the Canadian Medical Association who used the IAM. A total of 234,196 ratings were collected in 2012. The relevance of IAM items with respect to their main construct was calculated using descriptive statistics (relevance ratio R). In part 2 (qualitative descriptive study), the representativeness of IAM items was evaluated. A total of 15 family physicians completed semistructured face-to-face interviews. For each construct, we evaluated the representativeness of IAM items using a deductive-inductive thematic qualitative data analysis. In part 3 (mixing quantitative and qualitative parts), results from quantitative and qualitative analyses were reviewed, juxtaposed in a table, discussed with experts, and integrated. Thus, our final results are derived from the views of users (ecological content validation) and experts (logical content validation). Results: Of the 23 IAM items, 21 were validated for content, while 2 were removed. In part 1 (quantitative results), 21 items were deemed relevant, while 2 items were deemed not relevant (R=4.86% [N=234,196] and R=3.04% [n=45,394], respectively). In part 2 (qualitative results), 22 items were deemed representative, while 1 item was not representative. In part 3 (mixing quantitative and qualitative results), the content validity of 21 items was confirmed, and the 2 nonrelevant items were excluded. A fully validated version was generated (IAM-v2014). Conclusions: This study produced a content validated IAM questionnaire that is used by clinicians and information providers to assess the clinical information delivered in continuing education programs.

  • with Virtual Patient. Image sourced and copyrighted by authors.

    Virtual Patient Technology: Engaging Primary Care in Quality Improvement Innovations


    Background: Engaging health care staff in new quality improvement programs is challenging. Objective: We developed 2 virtual patient (VP) avatars in the context of a clinic-level quality improvement program. We sought to determine differences in preferences for VPs and the perceived influence of interacting with the VP on clinical staff engagement with the quality improvement program. Methods: Using a participatory design approach, we developed an older male smoker VP and a younger female smoker VP. The older male smoker was described as a patient with cardiovascular disease and was ethnically ambiguous. The female patient was younger and was worried about the impact of smoking on her pregnancy. Clinical staff were allowed to choose the VP they preferred, and the more they engaged with the VP, the more likely the VP was to quit smoking and become healthier. We deployed the VP within the context of a quality improvement program designed to encourage clinical staff to refer their patients who smoke to a patient-centered Web-assisted tobacco intervention. To evaluate the VPs, we used quantitative analyses using multivariate models of provider and practice characteristics and VP characteristic preference and analyses of a brief survey of positive deviants (clinical staff in practices with high rates of encouraging patients to use the quit smoking innovation). Results: A total of 146 clinical staff from 76 primary care practices interacted with the VPs. Clinic staff included medical providers (35/146, 24.0%), nurse professionals (19/146, 13.0%), primary care technicians (5/146, 3.4%), managerial staff (67/146, 45.9%), and receptionists (20/146, 13.7%). Medical staff were mostly male, and other roles were mostly female. Medical providers (OR 0.031; CI 0.003-0.281; P=.002) and younger staff (OR 0.411; CI 0.177-0.952; P=.038) were less likely to choose the younger, female VP when controlling for all other characteristics. VP preference did not influence online patient referrals by staff. In high-performing practices that referred 20 or more smokers to the ePortal (13/76), the majority of clinic staff were motivated by or liked the virtual patient (20/26, 77%). Conclusions: Medical providers are more likely motivated by VPs that are similar to their patient population, while nurses and other staff may prefer avatars that are more similar to them.

  • As Seen on Social Media: Residents at Happy Hour. Photo by Aman Chauhan; used with permission.

    Pediatric Residents’ Perceptions of Potential Professionalism Violations on Social Media: A US National Survey


    Background: The ubiquitous use of social media by physicians poses professionalism challenges. Regulatory bodies have disseminated guidelines related to physicians’ use of social media. Objective: This study had 2 objectives: (1) to understand what pediatric residents view as appropriate social media postings, and (2) to recognize the degree to which these residents are exposed to postings that violate social media professionalism guidelines. Methods: We distributed an electronic survey to pediatric residents across the United States. The survey consisted of 5 postings from a hypothetical resident’s personal Facebook page. The vignettes highlighted common scenarios that challenge published social media professionalism guidelines. We asked 2 questions for each vignette regarding (1) the resident’s opinion of the posting’s appropriateness, and (2) their frequency of viewing similar posts. We also elicited demographic data (age, sex, postgraduate year level), frequency of Facebook use, awareness of their institutional policies, and prior social media training. Results: Of 1628 respondents, 1498 (92.01%) of the pediatric residents acknowledged having a Facebook account, of whom 888/1628 (54.55%) reported daily use and 346/1628 (21.25%) reported using Facebook a few times a week. Residents frequently viewed posts that violated professionalism standards, including use of derogatory remarks about patients (1756/3256, 53.93%) and, much less frequently, about attending physicians (114/1628, 7.00%). The majority of the residents properly identified these postings as inappropriate. Residents had frequently viewed a post similar to one showing physicians drinking alcoholic beverages while in professional attire or scrubs and were neutral on this post’s appropriateness. Residents also reported a lack of knowledge about institutional policies on social media (651/1628, or 40.00%, were unaware of a policy; 204/1628, or 12.53%, said that no policy existed). A total of 372/1628 respondents (22.85%) stated that they had never received any structured training on social media professionalism. Conclusions: Today’s residents, like others of their generation, use social media sites to converse with peers without considering the implications for the profession. The frequent use of social media by learners needs to change the emphasis educators and regulatory bodies place on social media guidelines and teaching professionalism in the digital age.

  • Chat technology. Image sourced Author: Anton. Copyright: CC0 license.

    Social Media in Health Science Education: An International Survey


    Background: Social media is an asset that higher education students can use for an array of purposes. Studies have shown the merits of social media use in educational settings; however, its adoption in health science education has been slow, and the contributing reasons remain unclear. Objective: This multidisciplinary study aimed to examine health science students’ opinions on the use of social media in health science education and identify factors that may discourage its use. Methods: Data were collected from the Universitas 21 “Use of social media in health education” survey, distributed electronically among the health science staff and students from 8 universities in 7 countries. The 1640 student respondents were grouped as users or nonusers based on their reported frequency of social media use in their education. Results: Of the 1640 respondents, 1343 (81.89%) use social media in their education. Only 462 of the 1320 (35.00%) respondents have received specific social media training, and of those who have not, the majority (64.9%, 608/936) would like the opportunity. Users and nonusers reported the same 3 factors as the top barriers to their use of social media: uncertainty on policies, concerns about professionalism, and lack of support from the department. Nonusers reported all the barriers more frequently and almost half of nonusers reported not knowing how to incorporate social media into their learning. Among users, more than one fifth (20.5%, 50/243) of students who use social media “almost always” reported sharing clinical images without explicit permission. Conclusions: Our global, interdisciplinary study demonstrates that a significant number of students across all health science disciplines self-reported sharing clinical images inappropriately, and thus request the need for policies and training specific to social media use in health science education.

  • Participant flowchart. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors,.

    Teaching Shared Decision Making to Family Medicine Residents: A Descriptive Study of a Web-Based Tutorial


    Background: DECISION+2, a Web-based tutorial, was designed to train family physicians in shared decision making (SDM) regarding the use of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (ARIs). It is currently mandatory for second-year family medicine residents at Université Laval, Quebec, Canada. However, little is known about how such tutorials are used, their effect on knowledge scores, or how best to assess resident participation. Objective: The objective of our study was to describe the usage of this Web-based training platform by family medicine residents over time, evaluate its effect on their knowledge scores, and identify what kinds of data are needed for a more comprehensive analysis of usage and knowledge acquisition. Methods: We identified, collected, and analyzed all available data about participation in and current usage of the tutorial and its before-and-after 10-item knowledge test. Residents were separated into 3 log-in periods (2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015) depending on the day of their first connection. We compared residents’ participation rates between entry periods (Cochran-Armitage test), assessed the mean rank of the difference in total scores and category scores between pre- and posttest (Wilcoxon signed-rank test), and compared frequencies of each. Subsequent to analyses, we identified types of data that would have provided a more complete picture of the usage of the program and its effect on knowledge scores. Results: The tutorial addresses 3 knowledge categories: diagnosing ARIs, treating ARIs, and SDM regarding the use of antibiotics for treating ARIs. From July 2012 to July 2015, all 387 second-year family medicine residents were eligible to take the Web-based tutorial. Out of the 387 eligible residents, 247 (63.8%) logged in at least once. Their participation rates varied between entry periods, most significantly between the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 cohorts (P=.006). For the 109 out of 387 (28.2%) residents who completed the tutorial and both tests, total and category scores significantly improved between pre- and posttest (all P values <.001). However, the frequencies of those answering correctly on 2 of the 3 SDM questions did not increase significantly (P>.99, P=.25). Distribution of pre- or posttest total and category scores did not increase between entry periods (all P values >.1). Available data were inadequate for evaluating the associations between the tutorial and its impact on the residents’ scores and therefore could tell us little about its effect on increasing their knowledge. Conclusion: Residents’ use of this Web-based tutorial appeared to increase between entry periods following the changes to the SDM program, and the tutorial seemed less effective for increasing SDM knowledge scores than for diagnosis or treatment scores. However, our results also highlight the need to improve data availability before participation in Web-based SDM tutorials can be properly evaluated or knowledge scores improved.

  • IT for Health Professionals. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Information and Communication Technologies for the Dissemination of Clinical Practice Guidelines to Health Professionals: A Systematic Review


    Background: The transfer of research knowledge into clinical practice can be a continuous challenge for researchers. Information and communication technologies, such as websites and email, have emerged as popular tools for the dissemination of evidence to health professionals. Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to identify research on health professionals’ perceived usability and practice behavior change of information and communication technologies for the dissemination of clinical practice guidelines. Methods: We used a systematic approach to retrieve and extract data about relevant studies. We identified 2248 citations, of which 21 studies met criteria for inclusion; 20 studies were randomized controlled trials, and 1 was a controlled clinical trial. The following information and communication technologies were evaluated: websites (5 studies), computer software (3 studies), Web-based workshops (2 studies), computerized decision support systems (2 studies), electronic educational game (1 study), email (2 studies), and multifaceted interventions that consisted of at least one information and communication technology component (6 studies). Results: Website studies demonstrated significant improvements in perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, but not for knowledge, reducing barriers, and intention to use clinical practice guidelines. Computer software studies demonstrated significant improvements in perceived usefulness, but not for knowledge and skills. Web-based workshop and email studies demonstrated significant improvements in knowledge, perceived usefulness, and skills. An electronic educational game intervention demonstrated a significant improvement from baseline in knowledge after 12 and 24 weeks. Computerized decision support system studies demonstrated variable findings for improvement in skills. Multifaceted interventions demonstrated significant improvements in beliefs about capabilities, perceived usefulness, and intention to use clinical practice guidelines, but variable findings for improvements in skills. Most multifaceted studies demonstrated significant improvements in knowledge. Conclusions: The findings suggest that health professionals’ perceived usability and practice behavior change vary by type of information and communication technology. Heterogeneity and the paucity of properly conducted studies did not allow for a clear comparison between studies and a conclusion on the effectiveness of information and communication technologies as a knowledge translation strategy for the dissemination of clinical practice guidelines.

  • Social Media. Image source: License:CC0 Public Domain.

    Use of Social Media for Professional Development by Health Care Professionals: A Cross-Sectional Web-Based Survey

    Authors List:


    Background: Social media can be used in health care settings to enhance professional networking and education; patient communication, care, and education; public health programs; organizational promotion; and research. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the use of social media networks for the purpose of professional development among health care professionals in Saudi Arabia using a purpose-designed Web-based survey. Methods: A cross-sectional web-based survey was undertaken. A link to the survey was posted on the investigator’s personal social media accounts including Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Results: A total of 231 health care professionals, who are generally social media users, participated in the study. Of these professionals, 70.6% (163/231) use social media for their professional development. The social media applications most frequently used, in the descending order, for professional development were Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. The majority of respondents used social media for professional development irrespective of their age group, with the highest proportion seen in those aged 20-30 years. Social media were perceived as being most beneficial for professional development in terms of their impact on the domains of knowledge and problem solving and least helpful for enhancing clinical skills. Twitter was perceived as the most helpful type of social media for all domains listed. Respondents most frequently reported that social media were useful for professional development for the reasons of knowledge exchange and networking. Conclusions: Social media are frequently used by health care professionals in Saudi Arabia for the purposes of professional development, with Twitter most frequently used for this purpose. These findings suggest that social media networks can be powerful tools for engaging health care professionals in their professional development.

  • Source:; CC-BY; Designed by Onlyyouqj -

    A Virtual Community of Practice for General Practice Training: A Preimplementation Survey


    Background: Professional isolation is an important factor in low rural health workforce retention. Objective: The aim of this study was to gain insights to inform the development of an implementation plan for a virtual community of practice (VCoP) for general practice (GP) training in regional Australia. The study also aimed to assess the applicability of the findings of an existing framework in developing this plan. This included ascertaining the main drivers of usage, or usefulness, of the VCoP for users and establishing the different priorities between user groups. Methods: A survey study, based on the seven-step health VCoP framework, was conducted with general practice supervisors and registrars—133 usable responses; 40% estimated response rate. Data was analyzed using the t test and the chi-square test for comparisons between groups. Factor analysis and generalized linear regression modeling were used to ascertain factors which may independently predict intention to use the VCoP. Results: In establishing a VCoP, facilitation was seen as important. Regarding stakeholders, the GP training provider was an important sponsor. Factor analysis showed a single goal of usefulness. Registrars had a higher intention to use the VCoP (P<.001) and to perceive it as useful (P<.001) than supervisors. Usefulness independently predicted intention to actively use the VCoP (P<.001). Regarding engagement of a broad church of users, registrars were more likely than supervisors to want allied health professional and specialist involvement (P<.001). A supportive environment was deemed important, but most important was the quality of the content. Participants wanted regular feedback about site activity. Regarding technology and community, training can be online, but trust is better built face-to-face. Supervisors were significantly more likely than registrars to perceive that registrars needed help with knowledge (P=.01) and implementation of knowledge (P<.001). Conclusions: Important factors for a GP training VCoP include the following: facilitation covering administration and expertise, the perceived usefulness of the community, focusing usefulness around knowledge sharing, and overcoming professional isolation with high-quality content. Knowledge needs of different users should be acknowledged and help can be provided online, but trust is better built face-to-face. In conclusion, the findings of the health framework for VCoPs are relevant when developing an implementation plan for a VCoP for GP training. The main driver of success for a GP training VCoP is the perception of its usefulness by participants. Overcoming professional isolation for GP registrars using a VCoP has implications for training and retention of health workers in rural areas.

  • Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 Orginal by Andreas Prinz

    A Critical Analysis of Anesthesiology Podcasts: Identifying Determinants of Success


    Background: Audio and video podcasts have gained popularity in recent years. Increasingly, podcasts are being used in the field of medicine as a tool to disseminate information. This format has multiple advantages including highly accessible creation tools, low distribution costs, and portability for the user. However, despite its ongoing use in medical education, there are no data describing factors associated with the success or quality of podcasts. Objective: The goal of the study was to assess the landscape of anesthesia podcasts in Canada and develop a methodology for evaluating the quality of the podcast. To achieve our objective, we identified the scope of podcasts in anesthesia specifically, constructed an algorithmic model for measuring success, and identified factors linked to both successful podcasts and a peer-review process. Methods: Independent reviewers performed a systematic search of anesthesia-related podcasts on iTunes Canada. Data and metrics recorded for each podcast included podcast’s authorship, number posted, podcast series duration, target audience, topics, and social media presence. Descriptive statistics summarized mined data, and univariate analysis was used to identify factors associated with podcast success and a peer-review process. Results: Twenty-two podcasts related to anesthesia were included in the final analysis. Less than a third (6/22=27%) were still active. The median longevity of the podcasts’ series was just 13 months (interquartile range: 1-39 months). Anesthesiologists were the target audience for 77% of podcast series with clinical topics being most commonly addressed. We defined a novel algorithm for measuring success: Podcast Success Index. Factors associated with a high Podcast Success Index included podcasts targeting fellows (Spearman R=0.434; P=.04), inclusion of professional topics (Spearman R=0.456-0.603; P=.01-.03), and the use of Twitter as a means of social media (Spearman R=0.453;P=.03). In addition, more than two-thirds (16/22=73%) of podcasts demonstrated evidence of peer review with podcasts targeting anesthesiologists most strongly associated with peer-reviewed podcasts (Spearman R=0.886; P=.004) Conclusions: We present the first report on the scope of anesthesia podcasts in Canada. We have developed a novel tool for assessing the success of an anesthesiology podcast series and identified factors linked to this success measure as well as evidence of a peer-review process for a given podcast. To enable advancement in this area of anesthesia e-resources, podcast creators and users should consider factors associated with success when creating podcasts. The lack of these aspects may be associated with the early demise of a podcast series.

  • Image Source: Periodista, copyright Esther Vargas,,
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution cc-by 2.0

    Spaced Education and the Importance of Raising Awareness of the Personal Data Protection Act: A Medical Student Population-Based Study


    Background: The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) of Singapore was first passed in 2012, with subsequent enforcement regulations effective in 2014. Although medical education via digital platforms is not often used in medical schools in Singapore as of yet, many current means of communication at all levels in the medical community from medical schools to clinics to hospitals are unsecure and noncompliant with the PDPA. Objective: This pilot study will assess the effectiveness of MyDoc, a secure, mobile telehealth application and messaging platform, as an educational tool, secure communications tool, and a tool to raise awareness of the PDPA. Methods: By replacing current methods of communication with MyDoc and using weekly clinical case discussions in the form of unidentifiable clinical photos and questions and answers, we raised awareness the PDPA among medical students and gained feedback and determined user satisfaction with this innovative system via questionnaires handed to 240 medical students who experienced using MyDoc over a 6-week period. Results: All 240 questionnaires were answered with very positive and promising results, including all 100 students who were not familiar with the PDPA prior to the study attributing their awareness of it to MyDoc. Conclusions: Potential uses of MyDoc in a medical school setting include PDPA-compliant student-to-student and student-to-doctor communication and clinical group case discussions with the sharing of patient-sensitive data, including clinical images and/or videos of hospital patients that students may benefit from viewing from an educational perspective. With our pilot study having excellent results in terms of acceptance and satisfaction from medical students and raising awareness of the PDPA, the integration of a secure, mobile digital health application and messaging platform is something all medical schools should consider, because our students of today are our doctors of tomorrow.

  • Image Source: Smartphone use, copyright Intel Free Press,, Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution cc-by 2.0

    Considerations for the Telehealth Systems of Tomorrow: An Analysis of Student Perceptions of Telehealth Technologies


    Background: While much is known about factors that facilitate telehealth adoption, less is known about why adoption does or does not occur in specific populations, such as students. Objective: This study aims to examine the perceptions of telehealth systems within a large student sample. Methods: Undergraduate students (N=315) participated in a survey of the perceived advantages and disadvantages of telehealth technologies. The responses to the survey were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: We found that students were likely to adopt telehealth systems for the following reasons: (1) the system worked efficiently, (2) the convenience of telehealth, and (3) to gain access to health services. Students also perceived several disadvantages to telehealth systems, such as issues of trust (ie, security, privacy), the impersonal nature of telehealth systems, and they were concerned about the potential for major system errors. Conclusion: By understanding the current barriers to telehealth adoption in a cohort of students, we can not only better anticipate the future needs of this group, but also incorporate such needs into the design of future telehealth systems.

  • Photo credit: (cc) Some rights reserved by Alexander Kachkaev via FlickR, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

    Does Academic Blogging Enhance Promotion and Tenure? A Survey of US and Canadian Medicine and Pediatric Department Chairs


    Background: Electronic educational (e-learning) technology usage continues to grow. Many medical journals operate companion blogs (an application of e-learning technology) that enable rapid dissemination of scientific knowledge and discourse. Faculty members participating in promotion and tenure academic tracks spend valuable time and effort contributing, editing, and directing these medical journal blogs. Objective: We sought to understand whether chairs of medicine and pediatric departments acknowledge blog authorship as academic achievement. Methods: The authors surveyed 267 chairs of US and Canadian medicine and pediatric departments regarding their attitudes toward the role of faculty participation in e-learning and blogging in the promotion and tenure process. The survey completion rate was 22.8% (61/267). Results: A majority of respondents (87%, 53/61) viewed educational scholarship as either important or very important for promotion. However, only 23% (14/61) perceived importance to faculty effort in producing content for journal-based blogs. If faculty were to participate in blog authorship, 72% (44/61) of surveyed chairs favored involvement in a journal-based versus a society-based or a personal (nonaffiliated) blog. We identified a “favorable group” of chairs (19/59, 32%), who rated leadership roles in e-learning tools as important or very important, and an “unfavorable group” of chairs (40/59, 68%), who rated leadership roles in e-learning tools as somewhat important or not important. The favorable group were more likely to be aware of faculty bloggers within their departments (58%, 11/19 vs 25%, 10/40), viewed serving on editorial boards of e-learning tools more favorably (79%, 15/19 vs 31%, 12/39), and were more likely to value effort spent contributing to journal-based blogs (53%, 10/19 vs 10%, 4/40). Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that although the majority of department chairs value educational scholarship, only a minority perceive value in faculty blogging effort.

Citing this Article

Right click to copy or hit: ctrl+c (cmd+c on mac)

Latest Submissions Open for Peer-Review:

View All Open Peer Review Articles
  • PubMed vs Google Scholar in Medicine: Future of Public Database

    Date Submitted: Feb 26, 2017

    Open Peer Review Period: Mar 18, 2017 - May 13, 2017

    In the digital age, search strategy plays a vital role for academic purposes such thesis, scholarly article, scientific writing and presentation. To date, physicians and scientists have experienced wi...

    In the digital age, search strategy plays a vital role for academic purposes such thesis, scholarly article, scientific writing and presentation. To date, physicians and scientists have experienced with many search engines such PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, Quertle, SciGlobe, Microsoft Academic or etc... Indeed, 2 search engines (PubMed and Google Scholar) are commonly being used for physicians. However, very few physicians can outline the advantage and disadvantage among those search engines. Therefore, the author reviewed the difference between PubMed and Google Scholar.