Leveraging technology to upskill health workers

A successful online programme for doctors writing their postgraduate specialty examinations paves the way to harness technology to upskill health workers – from anywhere, anytime – and in their hundreds if not thousands.

Covid-19, lockdowns and stay-at-home measures have collectively had an unintended consequence: acceleration of online participation. Whether this took the form of webinars, meetings, collaboration or simply online conversations, the technology evolved rapidly during the pandemic.

There is another dimension that all this has enabled: borderless and scalable participation. Anecdotally, many have commented on the fact that their previous in-person meetings now have a global dimension, whereby participation cuts across continents and time zones.

MobiLearn has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to manage online events for medical doctors. The transition from an in-person to online multi-day workshop for doctors to prepare for their postgraduate exams has been spectacular. Polled after each session over the past two years, 100% of attendees preferred the online participation to an in-person event.

There is no reason why this model cannot be extended beyond health workers

This unanimous response was the result of the quality of the online event production – everyone looked good and sounded good. Everyone always had to their videos on. As per a previous article, this avoided the dreaded Zoom fatigue.

The programme content was delivered by specialists and heads of divisions in the department of medicine at University of Cape Town. Over 70 doctors participated and, although the majority were from South Africa, there were participants from other Southern Africa countries, too.

Gathering steam

This endeavour has created an opportunity to connect teachers from academic institutions to health workers in far-flung hospitals, major cities with no teaching hospitals and even practitioners in private seeking ongoing learning opportunities. Continuing professional development is a prerequisite in caring for patients and ensuring current and world-class management is delivered, even in the most remote parts of the country.

There is no reason why this model cannot be extended beyond health workers; it should be extended to the legal fraternity, the accounting profession, teachers, business managers, farmers, new and established, and many other sectors of our economy and services industries.

The tech is here, the capacity and skill are evolving, and there is a pent-up demand for continuous upskilling opportunities. We plan to do just that. Our pilot programme of having highly qualified specialists, such as cardiologists, engaging health workers in remote and major urban institutions, public and private, is gathering steam.

This article was originally posted on TechCentral.

mobilearn manages online events. We have managed several four day refresher courses for the Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town. Up to one hundred doctors across Africa participated. Want to know more? Send us mail.

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