The progress of human civilization rests on the farmers who cultivate grains, the builders or engineers who construct buildings and railroads, and the medical practitioners – doctors, nurses, staff in healthcare who help heal the ill. There is an interesting quote that has been doing the rounds of the Internet for some time and is attributed to late anthropologist Margaret Mead. The story goes something like this:
The noted, late anthropologist, Margaret Mead, was once asked, “What was the first sign of human civilization?” The inquiry came from someone who expected her to identify some artifact crafted by a primitive human being. Her reply was, “A healed human femur.” She went on to explain that it was the protection, feeding, and care by another individual that was unquestionably required to allow such a person to survive to the point of healing of such a fracture that signified that civilization could proceed.
Hence, the importance of a solid healthcare system and infrastructure truly does define the progress of a country and its people. The UK with its NHS has been for long considered as an ideal example of a well-defined healthcare system. In the USA, high healthcare costs with expensive medicines, and long waiting periods to get an appointment with a doctor make it very difficult for a low-income family to get proper medical aid. Traditionally, countries like India, the Philippines, and China have been “healthcare tourism” centers with people from different parts of the world coming to these countries for the comparatively affordable treatment and the robust system available. All this completely changed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that completely jeopardized even the most advanced healthcare systems. As hospitals were flooded with patients and the race to develop an effective vaccine gained pace; there was a desperate rush to bring in support staff to help trained doctors and nurses in hospitals. As the pandemic raged, hospitals and healthcare providers were at breaking point. 24-hour shifts became the norm, rest and sleep patterns were disturbed, and the whole system collapsed like a pack of cards. The availability of vaccines eased things a bit. Then the onset of the second wave and a third wave continued to unleash chaos. Nursing students, medical interns, medical students pursuing their MBBS program, alternative medicine students; were all pressed into service to help the hospitals take care of the ill. It is a remarkable testimony to the grit, patience, and perseverance of the medical fraternity and the governments in different parts of the world who tried their best.
The entire year of Covid-19 management has brought out some glaring deficiencies in the system:
Healthcare insurance is still not focused
Hospitals are under-staffed
There is no clarity in the working hours of medical staff
Lack of poor training in patient-management and first-stage diagnosis leads to more problems
Patients deserve a better overall experience in hospitals, be it private or government-managed hospitals
The Importance of Proper Employee Training in Hospitals
Easy admission into the hospital and a quick diagnosis of the patient can help save the patient’s life. During a patient’s treatment and recuperation, the way the patient’s attendants or visitors are treated, the billing process, and transparency in conveying post-operative care steps; all play a key role in the overall experience that a patient receives in a hospital. Hence, it is very important for hospital management and decision-makers in hospitals to ensure that all their staff members are adequately trained to handle the pressures of a high-pressure job that literally handles the life and death of people who come to a hospital looking for medical aid.
How Can Digital Learning Solutions Help in Healthcare Training?
Digital learning solutions offer an easy, affordable, and effective way to help hospitals train their staff. By creating animated videos, instructional videos with experts sharing their guidance, and deploying bite-sized learning content delivered directly to the staff members’ mobile phone; hospitals can create a great learning experience for their employees. Interns or young nursing and medical school graduates will be tech-savvy and more comfortable to learn through a dedicated mobile learning app or through video-format content. It becomes a win-win situation for the hospitals. Properly trained staff will be able to ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time and paperwork and insurance related processing can be completed faster.
In most hospitals it is the billing and processing of insurance claims that takes a lot of time as staff are not trained properly to handle large volumes of incoming cases. In countries where insurance is mapped directly to the social security number or its equivalent like a national identity card the process can get complicated. When typing information in the hospital patient management software, even one incorrect number that is keyed in can cause a lot of problems. Imagine the scale of confusion that can be caused if the blood group information is entered improperly, or if allergy information of a patient is incomplete? These are scenarios that can lead to a lot of stress for everyone concerned. Hence, the importance of adequate training and proper working shift hours cannot be discounted and is of prime importance for a hospital to maintain its credibility and offer the best possible care to patients.
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Different Digital Learning Solutions for the Healthcare Industry
Microlearning – Microlearning is typically defined as any form of learning that is within 10 minutes of duration and focuses on content designed for one specific learning objective or outcome. Animated videos or instructional presentations are an example of this format of learning. In a healthcare scenario, one can create and share an animated video on the best practices to be followed when a patient is wheeled into the emergency ward following an accident. Other instructional videos or presentations can focus on how to create a new patient ID and input information within the hospital patient management software.
Virtual instructor-led training programs – These programs are designed for slightly more complex scenarios where the guidance of an instructor / senior doctor or nurse is needed to validate the work done by the students / junior doctors or nurses. Sample course topics could focus on measuring vitals of patients in trauma, dealing with head injuries, handling young children, preparing women in labor for the safe delivery of a child, attending patients with burns caused by fires, etc. The courses need to incorporate an assessment section that simulate the scenario and ask the learner to offer the best solution possible.
The Future of Healthcare Training with Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality
We are already seeing virtual surgeries being enabled as doctors guide surgeons over online video conferencing. This is an extension of telemedicine that became prevalent with the onset of the pandemic. Telemedicine has been in existence for a while to help connect doctors with people living in remote areas. But it took a pandemic for people to fully understand its importance and benefits and no major hospitals and pharma giants offer their own dedicated apps to facilitate diagnosis and buying of medicines on uploading an image of a prescription to the pharmacy app.
In terms of training, scenario-based animated videos can be designed as a mixed reality experience. The learning experience designers can come up with a solution that allows the medical student / young doctor to examine the 3D composite figure of an injured / ill patient and the student can then perform a virtual surgery. This is training at a highly advanced level, but leading medical colleges and universities are already adopting such learning solutions to offer students a better understanding of the human body.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been helping learning experience designers in many ways. In the last few years, the integration of voice-based conversational chatbots within a learning program are working as a virtual instructor in simple eLearning courses. The recommendation engine built into institutional and enterprise-grade LMSs owes a lot to the user behavior analysis algorithms that help AI to recommend the next learning program. The future holds diverse possibilities. As researchers decode the genome of different viruses like the Covid-19, its Delta variant, and the Omicron variant; the amount of information on how the virus reacts to different combinations of drugs will be extremely helpful for pharmaceutical giants and hospitals to plan the course of treatment for patients getting infected with the virus. This goes beyond Corona and holds good for all drug trials and medical research ranging from studies into the HIV and Hepatitis virus and heartburn and Alzheimer’s Disease.
It is evident that we have not seen the end of the pandemic and in the coming months we are likely to face tougher challenges as the virus mutates itself into newer variants. We must come to terms with reality and learn to live with the challenges that Covid-19 has brought into our lives. Hospitals, nursing colleges, and medical colleges should leverage the availability of technology to design and deploy digital learning solutions that can well and truly change the learning experience and help their students be prepared to face the challenges of working in an emergency ward. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your digital learning needs.