JMIR Medical Education
Technology, innovation, and openness in medical education in the information age
JMIR Medical Education (JME) is an open access, peer-reviewed journal with a focus on technology, innovation and openess in medical education. This includes e-learning and virtual training, which in the (post-)COVID world has gained critical relevance. The journal is also interested in the training of health professionals in the usage 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 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 a 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. In particular, we welcome suggestions on how to improve medical education, new technologies, applications and approaches. There are currently no article processing fees for papers accepted for "Students' Corner".
Virtual reality has been gaining ground in health professions education and may offer students a platform to experience and master situations without endangering patients or themselves. When implemented effectively, virtual reality technologies may enable highly engaging learning activities and interactive simulations. However, implementation processes present challenges, and the key to successful implementation is identifying barriers and facilitators as well as finding strategies to address them.
The number of new HIV diagnoses in the United States continues to slowly decline; yet, transgender women and men who have sex with men remain disproportionately affected. Key to improving the quality of prevention services are providers who are comfortable broaching the subjects of sexual health and HIV prevention with people across the spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations. Preservice training is a critical point to establish HIV prevention and sexual health education practices before providers’ practice habits are established.
Collaboration with other professions is essential in health care education to prepare students for future clinical teamwork. However, health care education still struggles to incorporate interprofessional education. Distance learning and virtual patients (VPs) may be useful additional methods to increase students’ possibilities for interprofessional learning.
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, arguably the most significant assessment in the USMLE examination series, changed from a 3-digit score to a pass/fail outcome in January 2022. Given the rapidly evolving body of literature on this subject, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of the historical context and impact of this change on various stakeholders involved in residency selection. For this, relevant keyword-based searches were performed in PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus to identify relevant literature. Given the unique history of USMLE Step 1 in the US residency selection process and the score’s correlation with future performance in board-certifying examinations in different specialties, this scoring change is predicted to significantly impact US Doctor of Medicine students, US Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students, international medical graduates, and residency program directors, among others. The significance and the rationale of the pass/fail change along with the implications for both residency applicants and educators are also summarized in this paper. Although medical programs, academic institutions, and residency organizing bodies across the United States have swiftly stepped up to ensure a seamless transition and have attempted to ensure equity for all, the conversion process carries considerable uncertainty for residency applicants. For educators, the increasing number of applications conflicts with holistic application screening, leading to the expected greater use of objective measures, with USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge likely becoming the preferred screening tool in lieu of Step 1.
The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the utility of home-based health care due in part to social distancing requirements, curtailment of elective hospital procedures, and patient apprehension of the health care setting. The pandemic particularly accentuated the integral role of paid caregivers (eg, home health aides, personal care attendants, and other home care workers) in caring for patients with chronic health conditions. Given the paradigm shift toward community- and value-based health care models, paid caregivers are likely to play an even greater role as care team members. Despite the increasingly prominent role paid caregivers are assuming in health care, especially for patients who are chronically ill, in our experience as medical students, we have very little exposure to these care team members, with most interactions occurring in brief, chance encounters. Specifically, we advocate for increased medical student exposure to paid caregivers to facilitate their recognition as valuable care team members. We propose to achieve this through (1) classroom-based module learning with live paid caregivers and (2) plain language communication training to enhance reciprocal engagement.
Shared decision-making (SDM) leads to better health care processes through collaboration between health care professionals and patients. Training is recognized as a promising intervention to foster SDM by health care professionals. However, the most effective training type is still unclear. Reflexivity is an exercise that leads health care professionals to question their own values to better consider patient values and support patients while least influencing their decisions. Training that uses reflexivity strategies could motivate them to engage in SDM and be more open to diversity.
Emojis can improve health communication, especially when incorporating emojis into traditionally word-only texts. Beyond improving communication, emojis also offer greater access to health care, especially for vulnerable and marginalized populations with limited health literacy. A recent study found that 94% of patients with limited health literacy preferred health reports with emojis. Moreover, health officials are considering adding emojis to cardiopulmonary resuscitation guidelines and public health guidelines for handwashing. As the world evolves with new technology and new methods of communication, we must also evolve the language and method we use to communicate health information to patients. In this viewpoint, we aim to discuss the methods health care professionals can use to develop novel communication methods using emojis and the benefits of their incorporation into health care communication.
Investors, entrepreneurs, health care pundits, and venture capital firms all agree that the health care sector is awaiting a digital revolution. Steven Case, in 2016, predicted a “third wave” of innovation that would leverage big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to transform medicine and finally achieve reduced costs, improved efficiency, and better patient outcomes. Academic medical centers (AMCs) have the infrastructure and resources needed by digital health intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs to innovate, iterate, and optimize technology solutions for the major pain points of modern medicine. With large unique patient data sets, strong research programs, and subject matter experts, AMCs have the ability to assess, optimize, and integrate new digital health tools with feedback at the point of care and research-based clinical validation. As AMCs begin to explore digital health solutions, they must decide between forming internal teams to develop these innovations or collaborating with external companies. Although each has its drawbacks and benefits, AMCs can both benefit from and drive forward the digital health innovations that will result from this journey. This viewpoint will provide an explanation as to why AMCs are ideal incubators for digital health solutions and describe what these organizations will need to be successful in leading this “third wave” of innovation.
Free open-access meducation (FOAM) refers to open-access, web-based learning resources in medicine. It includes all formats of digital products, including blogs and podcasts. The number of FOAM blog and podcast sites in emergency medicine and critical care increased dramatically from 2002 to 2013, and physicians began to rely on the availability of these resources. The current landscape of these FOAM sites is unknown.
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