This is a text written by Jon Berg <jon.berg|a|turtlemeat.com> spring 2005 in the Computer Science course Medical Informatics at Tromsø University, Norway.
Current and future possibilities of Medical Informatics
12. Educating Medical Health Professions
Computers are an important tool for educating medical workers. The purpose of using the computer for education is to enhance the education and possibly replace traditional teaching methods. With a computer a student can get access to references and new information quickly. Multimedia also opens possibilities for new types of interaction. This chapter will present some education scenarios that computers are used in a new way to teach medical workers.
Drill and Practice on the computer
A good way of learning is to do exercises in an interactive way. An example of this is the use of programs that displays questions and the user has to answer the questions. This can be combined with multimedia.
Digital video streamed from the internet can be used to give lectures. These can be live or recorded. This makes it possible to observe lectures even if the lecture is not held in a location physically near.
Simulation is a way to stimulate the learner. The learning process involves the person in a series of real world cases. The software can display a dialog between a simulated person, and the learner has to take the role as the doctor and come up with the right diagnostic for a given problem the simulated person might have. Other types of more advanced simulation are for example training on surgical skills. Endoscopic surgeries and laparoscopic surgeries are where the surgeon manipulates tools and a camera that is inside the body of a patient are procedures suited for this type of simulation. This type of simulation technology is currently not fully matured, but will likely become used frequently in the future.
One of the reasons why it is important with a large variety of ways to do education of health professionals is because there is a need to refresh or refill the skills. The education does not stop at the graduation of medical school. The medical professional must be prepared to learn new things as they evolve. Often education is taken on the side while working. It is convenient to be able to choose a teaching method that suited for that situation.
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