Interactive algorithms for teaching and learning acute medicine in the network of medical faculties MEFANET

J Med Internet Res. 2013 Jul 8;15(7):e135. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2590.


Background: Medical Faculties Network (MEFANET) has established itself as the authority for setting standards for medical educators in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 2 independent countries with similar languages that once comprised a federation and that still retain the same curricular structure for medical education. One of the basic goals of the network is to advance medical teaching and learning with the use of modern information and communication technologies.

Objective: We present the education portal AKUTNE.CZ as an important part of the MEFANET's content. Our focus is primarily on simulation-based tools for teaching and learning acute medicine issues.

Methods: Three fundamental elements of the MEFANET e-publishing system are described: (1) medical disciplines linker, (2) authentication/authorization framework, and (3) multidimensional quality assessment. A new set of tools for technology-enhanced learning have been introduced recently: Sandbox (works in progress), WikiLectures (collaborative content authoring), Moodle-MEFANET (central learning management system), and Serious Games (virtual casuistics and interactive algorithms). The latest development in MEFANET is designed for indexing metadata about simulation-based learning objects, also known as electronic virtual patients or virtual clinical cases. The simulations assume the form of interactive algorithms for teaching and learning acute medicine. An anonymous questionnaire of 10 items was used to explore students' attitudes and interests in using the interactive algorithms as part of their medical or health care studies. Data collection was conducted over 10 days in February 2013.

Results: In total, 25 interactive algorithms in the Czech and English languages have been developed and published on the AKUTNE.CZ education portal to allow the users to test and improve their knowledge and skills in the field of acute medicine. In the feedback survey, 62 participants completed the online questionnaire (13.5%) from the total 460 addressed. Positive attitudes toward the interactive algorithms outnumbered negative trends.

Conclusions: The peer-reviewed algorithms were used for conducting problem-based learning sessions in general medicine (first aid, anesthesiology and pain management, emergency medicine) and in nursing (emergency medicine for midwives, obstetric analgesia, and anesthesia for midwifes). The feedback from the survey suggests that the students found the interactive algorithms as effective learning tools, facilitating enhanced knowledge in the field of acute medicine. The interactive algorithms, as a software platform, are open to academic use worldwide. The existing algorithms, in the form of simulation-based learning objects, can be incorporated into any educational website (subject to the approval of the authors).

Keywords: algorithms; community networks; medical education; patient simulation; problem-based learning; serious games; students; survey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • User-Computer Interface*