Virtual Course Aids Diagnostic Radiology Learning in Colombia
While the use of diagnostic imaging has increased significantly on a global scale in the past two decades, providing high-quality and comprehensive training to diagnostic imaging students is often a major challenge in some parts of the world.
In Colombia, for example, less than 5 percent of medical schools have a radiology course or clinical rotation, and when programs do exist, student training typically involves listening to a radiologist dictate studies in the classroom.
Doctors at Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, relied on creativity to design a course for medical students combining theoretical/on-site programs with the latest Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies in diagnostic imaging training, according to Andres Vasquez, M.D., M.S., director at the Center for Education and Technology in radiology/clinical coordinator for radiology at Los Andes University, and author of an RSNA 2013 scientific poster on the program.
"We felt there was a great need to develop a comprehensive program for radiology clerkships in Colombia that would allow medical students to get the most out of their rotations, but at the same time continue to be feasible and efficient in terms of time and budget," Dr. Vasquez said.
Last year, Dr. Vasquez and colleagues created a live, virtual six-week-long course based on the aims and competencies described by the Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology (AMSER)—a national organization for academic radiologists with a particular interest in medical student education.
Students had access to platforms based on Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, allowing them to review podcasts of the classes and answer questions in forums based on practical cases of basic pathologies. "This placed students in the midst of learning and generated discussion among peers creating the concept of collective learning," Dr. Vasquez said.
To gauge the program's value, doctors conducted a three-year study that included 185 four-year medical students from the university between 2009 and 2012. For the statistical analysis, the doctors used a paired student's t-test to evaluate the difference between the means of the enrolled group before and after the program. They used an unpaired t-test to evaluate the difference between the means for the enrolled and the control group after the course.
Researchers found a mean of 24 out of 100 for the pre-course exam and a mean score of 84.6 for the post-course exam in the enrolled group, with a post-course exam mean of 24.18 for the control group. An alpha error <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. The p score for both of these tests were statistically significant.
"Our program establishes comprehensive objectives and competencies that students must fulfill and acquire throughout the program, covering topics ranging from basic concepts in radiology to the interpretation of the most relevant diagnostic images for general practitioners," Dr. Vasquez said. "We strived to use interactive learning tools, including learning games, problem-based learning, and Web 2.0 and 3.0 platforms in order to better capture the attention of the students, taking into account they represent a new generation of learners who are native to the digital era.
"Our program empowered students with the necessary tools to become masters of their own learning process," said Dr. Vasquez. "We believe this type of program represents an innovative and comprehensive learning strategy that could be applied in many disciplines and fields, not only in Colombia but also around the globe."
Can Online Search Tools Predict Unfilled Radiology Residencies?
On Wednesday, Nora M. Haney, B.S., and colleagues will explore whether online search data may be useful in the prediction of unfilled radiology residency positions in their presentation of the education exhibit, LL-INE-WE6B, "Medical School Graduate Interest in Radiology Residency Programs as Depicted by Online Search Tools." In response to recent media reports indicating a marked decrease in specialty positions available to medical school graduates, specifically in radiology, Haney and colleagues sought to gauge medical school graduate interest in radiology by comparing data from Google Trends and the National Residency Match Program. Haney and colleagues will present their exhibit from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Informatics community of the Lakeside Learning Center. The exhibit will remain on display through Friday. Virtual meeting registrants may log in to view the exhibit from outside McCormick Place.