June 24, 2024

Serene Nest

taking care of your health, Our Mission

Innovating medical education to deliver 21st century healthcare

3 min read

Medical education is facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the National Health Service (NHS) rapidly reshaped, with reactive innovations and technologies rolled out which may have taken years to implement in our pre-pandemic world.

As our healthcare teams and systems recover, this evolving landscape demands a transformation in how we train and educate healthcare professionals (HCPs). The 21st century has seen the rapid integration of digital technology, personalised medicine, telehealth, and significant changes in healthcare delivery. These advancements necessitate an elevated, innovative approach to how industry and HCPs tackle medical education.

Traditionally, medical education has relied on didactic lectures and memorisation of vast volumes of information. While foundational knowledge remains crucial, the modern healthcare environment demands more. It calls for HCPs who understand medical facts but who are also critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and adaptable and collaborative team players. Innovation is the key to achieving this transformation.

Interactive learning technologies and simulation

Interactive learning technologies are now commonly employed to complement or supplant more traditional teaching methods. This shift to immersive technology through interactive participation such as virtual reality (VR) training can help to address skills needed in a variety of ways such as enhancing critical thinking, developing communication skills, and improving clinical decision-making while engaging the multi-disciplinary team throughout the learning process. Simulation allows the healthcare workforce to engage in clinical scenarios in a controlled and safe learning environment without causing risk to ‘real-life’ patients, along with the necessary opportunities to reflect and evaluate.

Interdisciplinary learning and collaboration

The concept of escape rooms is now being applied to medical education, with training providers like Scrub Games emerging to deliver real-time collaborative learning for HCPs. This collaboration-focused technique offers an immersive, game-based learning experience where participants collaboratively uncover clues, solve intricate puzzles, and fulfil tasks to advance through challenges and attain specific objectives.

Human factors in healthcare

Medical education must extend beyond technical skills, addressing human factors such as situational awareness and how communication skills can enhance or diminish team dynamics. Understanding the impact of the job, the individual, and the organisation on behaviour and abilities is essential. This knowledge enhances clinical performance and patient safety, aligning with established safety-critical industry practices.

Increasing or enhancing accessibility and inclusivity

Innovations in medical education can help to make education more accessible and inclusive globally, supporting and broadening much-needed talent acquisition, attraction, and retention strategies. The increased use of multimedia resources such as online courses, remote learning and live interactive discussions sharing best practices can reach a more diverse spectrum of student and HCPs, helping to address staff shortages, as well as supporting flexible, personalised, and collaborative learning, and promoting diversity in healthcare.

Fostering critical thinking and problem-solving

Innovation in medical education goes beyond technology. It may seem simple, but creating blended learning environments encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, engagement and teamwork. By implementing case-based learning, interprofessional education, and small-group discussions, we can nurture these essential skills, preparing HCPs to adapt to complex clinical scenarios.

The road ahead

Innovation in medical education is an ongoing journey, requiring collaboration among educators, institutions, HCPs, patients, and the industry. It is not merely a choice but a mandate to empower the healthcare workforce with the knowledge, skills, and mindset needed for the future. By embracing innovation, we not only elevate medical education but, more importantly, enhance the health and well-being of the patients we serve. As we navigate the evolving landscape, prioritising innovation remains crucial to meeting the dynamic needs of the healthcare industry and society.

At Onyx Health, we have a genuinely fresh approach to medical education and are always looking to create new opportunities for engagement through innovative approaches and methodologies. If you want to find out more, please contact us to start the conversation today.

Written by Sarah Seilly, Medical Education Lead at Onyx Health.

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