Online Medical Education Market

Global Industry Analysis (2017 – 2020) – Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2021 – 2025)

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Online Medical Education Spreads its Roots with Rapid Technology Intervention

With changing trends, online medical training has come a long way from correspondence courses to computerized virtual patient simulation. In the current decade, many massive open online courses in medical sciences were developed, and the most recent of the list is tele-learning that allows students, and teachers to interact through virtual patient rooms. Students can even be assessed for knowledge, skills, and occupational attitude through these tele-learning platforms. A developing infrastructure to support e-learning within medical education includes repositories, or digital libraries to manage access to e-learning materials, consensus on technical standardisation, and methods for peer review of these resources. Advances in synchronous distance education, and collaborative technologies like weblogs, message boards, chats, e-mail, and teleconferencing are making such collaborative learning more readily available, and effective. E-learning will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the development of an online environment where future medical students would learn.

A Ray of Hope for Developing Economies to Fill in Resource Gap

E-learning platforms are now increasingly being utilised by medical schools around the world, and comprise adaptive tutorials, audio-visual clips, and virtual models. These educational media possess several distinct advantages over traditional didactic models of instruction, involving regularly updating the material to ensure timely availability of the latest evidence-based content to trainees. The kind of flexibility it offers in terms of content, and pace encourages medical students to get trained in a convenient manner. Educators can also evaluate competencies objectively through online assessments, enabling students to receive personalised feedback for self-improvement. Most of the developing countries lack the necessary infrastructure in terms of well-equipped classrooms and training rooms, qualified and skilled medical educators, and some other academic resources. Online learning can be a significant means to bridge this gap, and strengthen the quality of medical education that is flexible, and adaptable.

Online Medical Education Plays a Vital Role in Making Medical Fraternity Relevant to Tech Times

With rapid technological advancements, healthcare is also advancing by leaps, and bounds. The brisk transformation of the healthcare environment, including advances in the biomedical sciences, as well as in diagnostics, and disease management have been compelling senior medical professionals to continuously upgrade themselves. Moreover, other aspects such as financing, healthcare delivery, and changes in the societal expectations demand medical professionals to always be on their toes. Online medical education has a major role to play here. Medical graduates of the twenty-first century are expected to hit the ground running, requiring not only a traditional clinical education but also one that is up-to-date with the latest technologies and ensures flexibility in a dynamic workplace. Academic faculty, and tutors therefore have a crucial role in guiding, and supporting the effective use of technology for such learning.

Renowned Virtual Universities Blaze a Trail in Online Medical Education Space

Simulation training is one feature that provides students with practical/hands-on experience in a safe, and realistic manner. Students also have access to virtual anatomy, giving them a vivid three-dimensional (3D) perspective. Earlier, studying anatomy involved two-dimensional atlases, and brain dissections; however, in dissections, there always remained thin chances of certain structures getting damaged/disturbed due to the lack of physical dexterity. In the virtual world, you can peel away layers, and appreciate the 3D structure. In recent years, the emergence of virtual universities promises a revolutionary approach to training medical doctors using the cutting-edge e-learning technologies.

The International Virtual Medical School (IVIMEDS), and the Virtual Campus of King's College of University of London are some of the examples online medical education at the undergraduate, residency, and continuing professional levels. The IVIMEDS consists of more than 30 partners in 15 countries who agree to share (1) curriculum maps that link learning content and assessment, (2) learning resources including illustrations, video clips, animated diagrams, medical images, and (3) virtual patients that simulate authentic, high fidelity patient problems. On the other hand, the Virtual Campus of King's College offers web-based systems that provide learning, and administrative support to medical, dental, and health sciences students. With a greater number of institutions seeking a cost-effective approach to optimise the capacity of e-learning in medical training, virtual universities will most likely garner an increasing appeal, thereby pushing the growth of online medical education market.

E-learning is a New Business Avenue for Authors and Publishers

At the continuing medical education (CME) level, between 2000 and 2001, the number of available CME websites increased from 96 to more than 200. At the national, and international levels, a number of initiatives have emerged with the purpose of creating a digital repository of peer-reviewed electronic resources for public dissemination. Some of the prime examples include MedEd Portal by Association of American Medical Colleges, End of Life/Palliative Education Resource Center by Medical College of Wisconsin, The Health Education Assets Library (HEAL), Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), and Family Medicine Digital Resource Library (FMDRL). These initiatives recognise the need for creation of a mechanism for sharing quality e-learning resources across institutions, and rewarding the work of faculty, and staff through peer-reviewed processes.

Accreditation of Institutions is Crucial while Market Expands Rapidly

By choosing an online programme offered through an accredited brick and mortar university, pursuing continuing medical education can be a less stressful, and more accommodating option – especially for someone with a rigid work schedule, or non-traditional working hours. The Department of Education’s College Navigator database is a resource that can verify the accreditation of any college. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) – National Center for Educational Statistics is one useful tool that helps in deciding the college, and course. Accreditation systems in medical education aim to assure various stakeholders (including students, educators in postgraduate educational programs, employers, and patients) that graduates are ready to further their training, or begin practice.

Currently, there are over 3000 medical schools providing education, and training to aspiring physicians around the world. The medical education curriculum, the experience that it offers, available resources, and length of study vary widely depending on regional, political, and other contextual factors. This variability in educational models, combined with the rapid increase in the number of medical schools worldwide, and increasing international mobility for education, and employment necessitate oversight of quality assurance such as formal accreditation systems to ensure that the medical educational institutions function appropriately. The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) has been gathering, and publishing data on accreditation activities worldwide. Their Directory of Organisations that Recognises/Accredits medical schools (DORA) enlists organisations that recognise, authorise, or certify medical schools and/or medical education programmes, and related data.

Other accreditation institutes include-

  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
  • American Association of Continuing Medical Education (AACME)
  • Accreditation Council for Continued Medical Education (ACCME)
  • Accreditation of Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
  • America Medical Association (AMA)
  • Accreditation Services for International Colleges (ASIC)
  • European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME)
  • European Urology – Accredited Continuing Medical Education (EU-ACME)
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
  • College of Family Physicians Canada (CFPC)
  • World Federation for Medical Education (WFME)

Prominent Online Medical Education Institutes in Global Landscape

AHC Media LLC, AMEE-ESME (Association for Medical Education in Europe - Essential Skills in Medical Education), BMC (part of Springer Nature), Cardio Village, Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education, DigiNerve, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), DocMode, ecancer, edX, Frontiers, EXCEMED (Excellence in Medical Education), ExPERT, Google for Education, Harvard HMX, HEAL-WA, Hindawi, Kenes Group, Mayo Clinic Online CME, Medigrad, Mescape, Medscape 360, MedPage Today, Medtalks Medtalks, Medvarsity, myCME, OnlineMedEd, Osmosis, PRIME, Prime Oncology, Stanford Online, Teach Me Medicine, The International Institute for Continuing Medical Education, Inc. (IICME), The AMA Ed Hub, USF Health, George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine, and Health Sciences (SMHS) Office of International Medicine Programs (IMP) are among the prominent institutes actively participating in the global online medical education market.

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