Higher-Ed and Healthcare Technology Convergence: How Far Should It Go?

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Does an online medical school sound too far-fetched? Today, yes. In the future—maybe not. 

Online learning has become standard fare in higher education, thanks to its cost effectiveness and the access it gives to underserved populations. But when it comes to the advanced coursework found in medical curriculum, do the benefits outweigh the sacrifice of hands-on learning?

Writer Leslie Fall says yes, in a recent story in the Pacific Standard magazine. She argues that online learning could have a profound ripple effect across the healthcare system. For instance, a reduction in medical school debt may relieve the financial pressure new doctors face, which in the past, has led them to accept only the highest-paid specialist positions. The continuation of that cycle, she writes, may soon create a shortage in primary care physicians.  

This discussion is exactly the convergence we've been seeing in our consulting work at Burwood Group, where we are finding that healthcare, higher education and IT are becoming inextricably linked.

MedicalSchool.com or not, technology is transforming healthcare education

In a previous blog post, "Emerging Trends in Video-Conferencing," I explored how new video-conferencing technology is already wielding exciting new approaches in healthcare and education, from pairing diagnostic information with HD video to expedite care, to specially designed A/V tools that extend the virtual classroom. 

As these approaches are making remote healthcare learning more feasible, other virtual-reality and visualization technologies are proving game-changers in the medical classroom. Western University in Pomona, California, for example, just opened a training center that includes a virtual dissection table, as Tech Republic reports.

Is the world ready for an online medical school? It’s not clear, but what I do know: having a strong technology infrastructure in place is the key to achieving the next big step in virtual collaboration—whatever the setting.


 

December 1, 2015