Changing Medical Education, Information and Content Delivery Models
Medical societies, associations and publishers have the opportunity to improve the value and relationship with healthcare professionals and practitioners (HCPs) by changing their education, information and content delivery models to more directly match the changed HCP consumption behaviors.
Digital tools and platforms and the data they collect afford expanded and new opportunities to identify educational trends, information consumption and corresponding digital behaviors along with understanding of knowledge gaps across all types of Healthcare Professionals and Practitioners (HCPs). The tools and platforms assist with analyzing experiences and the practice to reveal answers that lead to understanding the impact of medical education and information.
Getting the appropriate and relevant education, information and knowledge into the hands of the professionals and practitioners who need it most remains challenging as many societies, associations and publishers have not yet adapted to the influences of digital and the impact of changed consumption and engagement behaviors of HCPs. Why? Because it is challenging, requiring review of the past while strategizing and moving into the future.
- Healthcare practitioners and professionals need to maintain and grow knowledge across a broad spectrum. Increasingly, today’s patients present with a variety of conditions and disease states, particularly as the majority of the patient population is aging.
- CME, MOC, CE and other physical or digital education types, sources and offerings required for achieving or maintaining certification may not represent nor correlate to the types of patient conditions and disease states prevalent across the directly experienced patient population, or truly represent a particular geographic region’s prevalence for a specific patient population.
- An HCP’s distinct knowledge gaps may not correlate to available information or education.
- Drug, device and other treatment options and possible tactics continue to multiply making the ongoing effort to stay up-to-date even more challenging given the day-to-day time-pressed responsibilities to deliver high-quality patient care.
- Increasing demand for professional’s and practitioner’s time, combined with the shortening of face-to-face patient encounters challenge quality patient interaction and quality recall of applicable knowledge needed in the moment.
- HCPs most often leverage online digital sources before, during or post patient encounter and are seeking short-form helpful information.
- The majority of available medical information, content and educational material remains in long form, often encased in research study format, and is not structured nor oriented towards easily searchable and consumable formats to match time pressed needs.
- Societies, associations and publishers have not majorly sought to build a deeper understanding, via data, of their audiences, the audiences’ needs for information, education and knowledge and the distinct changes and pressures impacting HCPs responsible for patient care.
- Many digital sites and sources fall quickly out of date given limited financial and/or personnel resources.
The right knowledge and education along with real-world practical experience delivered into the right hands can result in lives saved or prolonged.
Digital Tensions and Behavioral Changes
Today we live in a world of more contradictions than ever before. On one hand, we have access to information at our fingertips, ever ready and available to answer any question we have or provide the knowledge we seek. Often this is an exercise to help us solve our problems or problems others are having.
On the other hand, two factors are in play that result in limited or challenged results. The exponential growth of available information is so vast and deep that it often becomes time intensive to mine and sift through to reach the treasure and get what is most relevant.
The ever growing list of to-dos and interactions that individuals have in our society today are often on a minute-by-minute basis. The challenges include the increase and frequency of communications across phone, text, messaging and email. There is also the expectation of immediate response. To meet the expectation of immediacy, time is diverted from other things, including one’s own task list. The task list often gets sidelined by so many other time-sensitive demands.
Time constraint and the stress it causes crosses all types of people and professions. This includes healthcare professionals and practitioners (HCPs) whose daily lives are already incredibly stressful and intense. Tensions arise seeing and caring for high numbers of patients per day; meeting patient demands, matching care to increasingly complex patients and also seeing enough patients to ensure the requisite amount of revenue comes into the practice or facility.
In large facilities, HCPs, including nurses or those in similar patient care roles, often experience high patient loads, some with complex conditions that consume every moment of their work day.
Most professionals must also account for daily interactions with technological systems to document, update and input interactions and actions across the patient population. These technological systems were intended to record data and streamline billing, not create efficiencies. Inputting data manually often takes precious time and effort.
The current healthcare environment needs to justify care through numbers and reports that are important for a variety of right and wrong reasons. The reality of a 24/7 digital life blended with the complexity of a physical life leaves little time to develop skills, fill knowledge gaps, pursue relevant continuing education and gain the right information at the right time in a desired format to improve patient care.
Role of Medical Societies, Associations and Publishers
Healthcare practitioners and professionals often look to relevant and specialty societies, associations, publishers and education companies to help them fill real or perceived educational gaps. Meeting those needs and filling the gaps is majorly why societies, associations, publishers and education companies came into existence and why professionals still align with them.
These organizations exist in a supporting role to meet the needs of its direct constituents and related customers.
Many organizations seek to support HCPs with critical information to close educational gaps, anticipate the trends and create valuable offerings. Often the challenge is they are talking to the masses opposed to refining and segmenting the right content to the right segmented audience.
They also leverage grant support funding to develop educational programs intended to fill knowledge gaps. These funds are often provided by industry and others; the variety of subjects may not correlate directly to actual needs but they fulfill requirements for gaining or maintaining certification and/or licensure.
A select few seek to create timely research feedback mechanisms to inform HCP audiences about localized and broader trends and issues such as the prevalence of disease states, complex patient types and patient population characteristics in certain geographic regions. Most have not yet sought to deepen their knowledge about their audiences in order to better serve them.
Staying ahead of identifying the most relevant needs of the intended audience across a growing population and complexity of patient conditions and disease requires change. And change in a digital era includes using data, technology and analytics to leverage knowledge about the practice and the professional.
No individual or organization likes change, but change must occur to ensure organizations are helping practitioners and professionals be as effective and knowledgeable as they can be, always keeping patient care and saving lives as the driver.
Critical to change is adopting and leveraging digital tools and technology. Organizations own a wealth of data which can be captured, curated and managed. If they don’t have the data, they can move to begin collecting data leveraging the loyalty and credibility they receive from their dedicated professional audience.
Strategy and Technology
Data can lead to insights, the ability to make better decisions, match efforts and outputs to the trends, close educational gaps and ultimately save or prolong patient lives.
Digital, technology and data are tools, not silver bullets. Strategy and know how is the first step in creating a plan, documenting the situations, conditions and measures and identifying the required platforms and environment you need to be successful in improving patient outcomes and meeting the needs of HCP members, subscribers and customers.
The how, what, when, where and why can be complex, as there are many moving parts that must be discussed, considered and thought through to achieve desired goals and outputs. Each organization is unique in their focus, specialty and environment.
Likewise, HCPs in their own focus, geographic location, practice setting and specialty have unique needs and wants.
2040 Digital Can Help
The posts and articles that follow with more to be published in the near term seek to help medical societies, associations and publishers understand their unique opportunity to deepen their value, offerings and relevance and deliver the right content, information and education while maintaining and growing authority and credibility.
The intent and end goal is to assist with improving patient care, improving positive patient outcomes, improving educational outcomes and ultimately save or prolong lives.
2040 Digital can brings its extensive knowledge of HCPs, digital, data, content structure, technology and more to help you evolve and match your audiences’ needs and wants.