COVID-19 Impact: Medical Continuing Education

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COVID-19 Impact: Medical Continuing Education

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting continuing medical education for physicians since they are turning to digital solutions. For example, 74% agree that online continuing medical education is more important for clinical practice compared to the past. Physicians prefer digital or virtual programs rather than in-person sessions owing to the pandemic while 90% expect to continue using digital learning solutions in the same way or a greater amount after COVID-19. This and other relevant data can be found below.

Continuing Medical Education During and After the Pandemic

  • As the medical field continues to be impacted by COVID-19, physicians are turning to digital solutions which include continuing medical education to stay at par with the latest developments in their fields.
  • According to a report published by McKinsey, "93% of physicians expect to use digital tools for clinical decision support."
  • There has been a huge change in the medical community evidenced by the cancellation of live events and conferences and the subsequent shift to virtual means.
  • 60% of physicians revealed that they did not expect to attend live meetings and programs for more than a year.
  • 64% of physicians revealed that they were likely to take part in online versions of national programs.
  • Physicians are embracing digital continuing medical education, with 74% agreeing that online continuing medical education is more crucial for clinical practice during COVID-19 compared to the past.
  • The "Medscape Education COVID-19 Learning Center" has availed required and relevant information to its members. This has reached more than one million learners (including physicians) across over 50 continuing medical education programs that are focused on the assessment, management, and treatment of COVID-19.
  • In India, online discussion forums have helped with continuing medical education since public gatherings were banned, leading to the postponement or cancellation of medical workshops and conferences.
  • 90% of physicians expect to continue using digital learning solutions in the same way or a greater amount post-COVID-19.
SINGAPORE
  • In the National University Hospital of Singapore, there has been an increase in the use of technology to find ways and innovate when it comes to continuing medical education. Immediately after the pandemic alert was given in Singapore, the traditional in-person educational sessions were discontinued in the university which has 32 specialty training programs.
  • It was deemed crucial to resume continuing medical education to ensure that physicians have the necessary skills to deal with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases. The development of accessible video conferencing tools combined with the use of smartphones and the national stability of 4G has allowed for video conferencing as an option in transiting continuing medical education to virtual platforms.
  • Within the first two weeks of the transition, 45% of training programs resumed continuing medical education programs virtually.
  • By the end of the fourth and eighth weeks, this had increased to 70% and 85% respectively.
  • All the 27 training programs that were able to successfully resume their continuing medical education initiatives switched to videoconferencing for simultaneous distance learning using Zoom or other software.
  • Videoconferencing has been successfully leveraged for obstetrics. Gynecology and surgical education recorded videos to study surgical and anatomy principles.
GETUP
  • The contribution to continuing medical education tasks is an important role for medical toxicologists. As a result, the Global Educational Toxicology Uniting Project (GETUP) enrolled 60 registrants in 15 countries from December 2019 to April 2020 in an online introductory clinical toxicology training program. Among the participants were physicians.
  • This was emphasized in low-and-middle-income areas that do not have developed toxicology expertise and have, in the past, relied on travel for educational opportunities. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person conferences were canceled and this led to the loss of continuing medical education opportunities for physicians.

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