The concept of "learning by doing" has become less acceptable, particularly when invasive procedures and high-risk care are required. Restrictions on medical educators have prompted them to seek alternative methods to teach medical knowledge and gain procedural experience. Fortunately, the last decade has seen an explosion of the number of tools available to enhance medical education: web-based education, virtual reality, and high fidelity patient simulation. This paper presents some of the consensus statements in regard to these tools agreed upon by members of the Educational Technology Section of the 2004 AEM Consensus Conference for Informatics and Technology in Emergency Department Health Care, held in Orlando, Florida.
Findings: Web-based teaching: 1) Every ED should have access to medical educational materials via the Internet, computer-based training, and other effective education methods for point-of-service information, continuing medical education, and training. 2) Real-time automated tools should be integrated into Emergency Department Information Systems [EDIS] for contemporaneous education. Virtual reality [VR]: 1) Emergency physicians and emergency medicine societies should become more involved in VR development and assessment. 2) Nationally accepted protocols for the proper assessment of VR applications should be adopted and large multi-center groups should be formed to perform these studies. High-fidelity simulation: Emergency medicine residency programs should consider the use of high-fidelity patient simulators to enhance the teaching and evaluation of core competencies among trainees.
Conclusions: Across specialties, patient simulation, virtual reality, and the Web will soon enable medical students and residents to... see one, simulate many, do one competently, and teach everyone.