1 University West (SWEDEN)
2 University Health Care Research Center (UFC), Region Örebro län (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 4629-4636
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1090
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
The subject of this paper is on emerging challenges and opportunities related to digitalization of work and learning in healthcare. Physicians are a typical specialized profession with a lot of formal education and demands for training and lifelong learning. Due to patient-centric care and advances in medicine and technology (e.g. apps for self-care) patients are now becoming active participants in healthcare, challenging the profession and patient-physician relationship. Another key challenge relate to evidence based medicine (EBM) that demand of physicians to keep updated and follow guidelines, while also balance this with own knowledge and best practice. Although the medical profession is based on communication, and social media have such major impact today, digital literacy is lacking in medical curriculum. While previous research suggest that social media have potential to support learning the impact of eHealth in relation to workplace learning has not yet been extensively studied. The research question is: How do physicians view their role in relation to informed patients and patient participation, and what are the implications for workplace learning and medical education in the information society of today?

The methodology is a qualitative follow-up study. Thematic analysis was conducted on empirical data from 15 initial semi-structured interviews, and follow-up focus group (6 participants) based on patient scenarios.

Our findings indicate that despite quite unionist call for change in the past decade medical education and training still seems to be based on traditional learning, formal lectures and learning by heart. We argue that this may be a key reason behind why the physicians find it hard to navigate the vast amount of medical information and digital tools available. Due to an underlying assumption that being a doctor is about treating patients, focus is placed on how to build up medical knowledge in terms of diagnoses, symptoms and treatments. While when they start to work are facing a much more complex situation, with informed, participating patients, increasingly digitalized workplace and extended networks of collegial and professional expertise. Findings from this study further support recent initiatives to increase health related ICT skills in the healthcare workforce but also highlights that what is needed is primarily related to literacy, as opposed to prior focuses on digital technology, computer skills and specific systems or databases. Thus, in addition to medical knowledge, this study indicate that a key skill is to have design knowledge, that is the ability to understand how the design of one’s digital environment can make everyday life and work more effective. The physicians also addressed ethical concerns on the future digital healthcare in relation to patient participation, such as issues of equal care and responsibility.

In conclusion, our findings call for a change in education and practice, further stressing a need for new educational models that emphasize on analytic and critical thinking skills (cf. the Bologna declaration) to meet the needs of modern medical learners along with meeting the demand for digital competence for lifelong learning in general.