Digital Health: How To Prepare The Next Generation Of Doctors

Educate new doctors in 10 essential points

Digital has also influenced the field of Healthcare Marketing by becoming Digital Health and introducing technologies for different functionalities regarding diagnosis and therapies for patients.

First, the change involved the relationship between doctor and patient , constituting a more direct relationship with the two subjects placed on the same level and a bilateral exchange of information.

                           

In this scenario, doctors must be aware of technical innovations and their social repercussions; here we need a profound preparation that makes the new generation of white coats know these changes, in which information can be found in a simpler and faster way and, above all, within everyone’s reach.

While patients are connected and look for data and experiences of other users to understand more about their medical situation, the treatments and therapies to be addressed but also the medical centers to turn to, doctors have the opportunity to monitor the situation of patients thanks to the measurements that the devices collect uninterruptedly and without constraints: there are no more space-time limitations, in fact each user can send indications on his own health conditions at any time to the referring doctor who takes on the role of filtering information beyond that of a mere health worker.

How, then, should the formation of the new generation of doctors take place, starting from the first years of their studies to arrive at a more specialized education?

Here are ten points that list the principles for training new healthcare professionals:

1. The importance of digital education

The first step in training new doctors is to educate them about the use of digital tools: it is good that they know how to use the means to facilitate the exchange of information. 
It is also necessary to know how to recognize reliable sources, assess whether a website offers accurate information and data and therefore whether it is better to use it or not.

It is good to keep in mind that once the functioning of the different digital technologies is understood, the work is not finished: all the applications are subject to continuous updates, so every specialist must keep up with the innovations that characterize the instruments.

2. Understanding the patient-centered system

Digital has led to the consolidation of a system that can be defined as patient-centered: the patient is at the center of every area of health care. All the attention is directed to him, the information passes through his knowledge (of simpler and faster training as it is less complex to develop online research) and the decisions are taken in common agreement.

It cannot be excluded that in the future patients will be included in wider decision-making processes, given that they will have increasingly profound competences in relation to their own health problems.

3. Allow students to get in touch with patients

Future medical specialists who are facing the course of studies should be allowed to work at the beginning of their career with patients in order to establish a professional networking relationship . Through this method they will already be oriented towards the job that they will face once their preparation is completed, managing to manage the dynamics in the best way.

In the Netherlands, at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, activities of this type are already planned in order to enable medical students to empathize with patients, learning to listen to them, understand their needs and resolve their doubts (within the limits of knowledge they have acquired so far).

4. Teach to act and take the initiative

This is a typical approach of the art design sector : it consists in satisfying the users’ needs by putting into practice all the knowledge acquired and using all the tools that are available.

The doctor in this process must seize all the possible ways to go to perform the task quickly and efficiently but also independently. The intensification of laboratories with simulations in the classroom can lead the trainees to understand how to arrive at a concrete solution starting from a more or less serious problem.

5. Start using cutting-edge tools

It may be necessary to advise users of cutting-edge tools for their training such as tests, quizzes, the study of new applications and video tutorials.

An example of these technologies can be given by Anatomage Table, through which the learning of anatomy becomes easier both for those who have the task of teaching, and for those who are interested in learning. Some universities like Case Western use these tools giving particular value to digital innovations that will be successful in the coming years, such as virtual reality.

6. Introduce new technologies into lessons

The medical-health and pharmaceutical sectors present new technologies that will increasingly change the conformation of the sector and for this reason it might be good practice to introduce these instruments to doctors even during their first years of study.

These are means such as 3D printing , robotics , virtual reality and augmented realitythat represent real innovations of medicine that will become increasingly stronger and more complex in the future.

7. To introduce the technologies used by patients

In order to be able to recommend applications and technologies, doctors should be aware of the features that the tools have and how they could be useful for the users-patients who use them. The best way is to try them for yourself, putting yourself in the patients’ shoes and measuring in this way the ease of use and the clarity of the information.

8. Reflect the doctor-patient relationship in the teacher-student relationship

Since the relationship between doctor and patient changes, moving from a hierarchy to a relationship where subjects are placed on the same level, characterized by a two-dimensional communication, it is good that medical students learn this transformation right away.

The tactic to do so could be to reflect the doctor-patient relationship in that teacher-student, freeing the latter from the hierarchical structure that traditionally characterizes him.

9. Make learning more stimulating

In the long run, though useful, learning by traditional methods with lectures and study of manuals can be repetitive and boring. Although it is an irreplaceable methodology, the introduction of new more dynamic procedures could be more interesting and efficient, while maintaining their educational function. Here, then, returns to classroom learning through tests, quizzes, the study of new applications and video tutorials.

10. Educating for teamwork

Like any field, even the medical field is based on cooperation and collaboration between its subjects. Health professionals represent a dense network of information exchange and knowledge useful for identifying the best strategy to put into practice.

To start with the idea of teamwork it could be useful to use board games to stimulate students to find solutions to a problem, to complete a task. There are even specialized board games, therefore specific to the field of medicine, which in addition to instructing on team work could guide the acquisition of practices that will then have to be really addressed.

These ten points mentioned above have already been put into practice and tested by Dr. Meskó at the Semmelweis Medical School in 2017: their application proved to be absolutely positive, a sign that this process is the right one for the best preparation of future doctors. Dr. Meskó was described by Forbes Magazine as “The Geek that is changing the world” and his work has been recognized by CNN.com and the New York Times.