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 SYMPOSIUM
Year : 2005  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 301-307

Medical education for rural areas: Opportunities and challenges for information and communications technologies


Continuing Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Joan M Sargeant
Continuing Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 16388173

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Resources in medical education are not evenly distributed and access to education can be more problematic in rural areas. Similar to telemedicine's positive influence on health care access, advances in information and communications technologies (ICTs) increase opportunities for medical education. This paper provides a descriptive overview of the use of ICTs in medical education and suggests a conceptual model for reviewing ICT use in medical education, describes specific ICTs and educational interventions, and discusses opportunities and challenges of ICT use, especially in rural areas. The literature review included technology and medical education, 1996-2005. Using an educational model as a framework, the uses of ICTs in medical education are, very generally, to link learners, instructors, specific course materials and/or information resources in various ways. ICTs range from the simple (telephone, audio-conferencing) to the sophisticated (virtual environments, learning repositories) and can increase access to medical education and enhance learning and collaboration for learners at all levels and for institutions. While ICTs are being used and offer further potential for medical education enhancement, challenges exist, especially for rural areas. These are technological (e.g., overcoming barriers like cost, maintenance, access to telecommunications infrastructure), educational (using ICTs to best meet learners' educational priorities, integrating ICTs into educational programs) and social (sensitivity to remote needs, resources, cultures). Finally, there is need for more rigorous research to more clearly identify advantages and disadvantages of specific uses of ICTs in medical education.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow