Using Web Services to Enhance a Medical Education Course

The Cleveland Clinic Annual Intensive Review of Internal Medicine is in its 19th edition this year and since members of the Section of Hospital Medicine actively participate in the course, we started to think of ways to make it more Web-friendly. I was appointed a director of web-based development for the project.

The course already has an accompanying book and CD-ROMs which were reviewed very favorably in JAMA.

I was asked recently to be the director of web-based development for the 19th edition of the course. We are looking for some "Web 2.0 ways" to make this well-established course more interactive and closer to the minds of the new generation of physicians who see the world through "Google eyes."

I listed below a few services we are considering for future use, feel free to add your comments and suggestions.

1. Google Video to host course lectures

We could upload most of the course lectures on Google Video/YouTube and make them freely available and searchable. Additional options include allowing videos to be embedded in other sites and blogs, and downloaded to video iPods. If content owners do not agree to provide lectures for free, we could probably charge a reasonable price of $ 2-5 per video to watch and download.

A similar approach is already used by UC Berkeley and by our own Health Edge team at the Cleveland Clinic.

2. Google Groups for question-and-answer sessions

The new version of Google Groups has morphed into an online collaboration platform which can be used for question-and-answer sessions between course attendees and faculty. A simple website can be built within Groups using Google Page Creator, and up to 100 MB of files can be hosted on Groups.

Google Groups design can be customized to fit the Cleveland Clinic brand and logo requirements.

3. Video iPod with course lectures

We could offer individual Cleveland Clinic-branded video iPods with all the lectures pre-loaded and available for education on-the-go, when exercising or traveling.

A similar approach is used by The Arizona Heart Institute to educate patients about cardiovascular disease and surgery. Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuous Medical Educations already features free audio and video podcasts for health professionals. The series started with the Sessions from the 18th Annual Intensive Review of Internal Medicine. You can either listen/view podcasts online or subscribe with iTunes.

4. PicasaWeb to host clinical images and EKGs

PicasaWeb slide shows automatically adjust to the monitor size of the user. I already use this service for our procedure-teaching articles.

5. Convert PowerPoint presentations to online Flash slide shows

Course attendees may not need PowerPoint installed on their computers to view the course presentations. Slideshare.net converts PowerPoint files to Flash slide shows which can either be embedded in web sites/blogs or shared via email.

References:
Attend Conferences Without Being There. LifeHack.org.
Video iPod for Your Heart
Video Podcasts by The Cleveland Clinic
UC Berkeley Free Webcast Courses
18th Annual Intensive Review of Internal Medicine
The new Groups experience
Convert Powerpoint Presentations to Flash Slideshows with Slideshare. Amit Agarwal.
Free Audio and Video Podcasts for Health Professionals by Cleveland Clinic
Building a Site in the Times of Google. Google Operating System, 01/2007.
BioMed Central's You Tube channel: videos from BioMed Central's authors and editors, 09/2007.
Image source: OpenClipAart.org (public domain)

Related:
Most Popular Educational Technologies. Life as a Healthcare CIO, 04/2008.

Updated: 04/15/2008

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