How we make nephrology easier to learn: computer-based modules at the point-of-care

Med Teach. 2014 Jan;36(1):13-8. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.847912. Epub 2013 Oct 28.


Background: Novel educational tools, such as case-based learning in a web-based module format, are an effective approach to teaching clinical concepts to medical trainees, especially if the situations are clinically relevant and the intervention is delivered at the point-of-care. Though studies have evaluated the effectiveness of point-of-care reference materials, limited literature addresses active web-based interventions designed for completion at the point-of-care.

Aims: By taking advantage of existing technological resources and integrating an effective learning modality into the clinical environment, we can increase trainee understanding of high-yield topics in clinical nephrology.

Methods: We designed interactive, case-based computer-based modules in Principles of Dialysis, Hyponatremia, and Acid-Base abnormalities, with interwoven multiple-choice and free text questions with immediate feedback, supplemental practice questions, and enrichment material to be completed in the clinical environment. All medicine trainees at an urban, academic institution were invited to participate in a needs assessment, pre and post knowledge tests, and module completion.

Results: Most trainees believed the modules were "very" or "extremely helpful" in understanding the selected topic and that they would likely change their clinical practice. Those who completed the modules performed better on a post-intervention knowledge assessment. Free-text feedback was overwhelmingly supportive of the modules.

Conclusion: Our findings confirmed that a novel, simplified approach to renal content by making it readily applicable to a clinical context and available at the point-of-care improves trainee understanding of high-yield topics in nephrology.

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Imbalance / diagnosis
  • Acid-Base Imbalance / physiopathology
  • Acid-Base Imbalance / therapy
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / standards
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / diagnosis
  • Hyponatremia / physiopathology
  • Hyponatremia / therapy
  • Internal Medicine / education
  • Internship and Residency
  • Kidney Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases* / therapy
  • Nephrology / education*
  • Point-of-Care Systems / organization & administration*
  • Point-of-Care Systems / standards
  • Program Evaluation
  • Renal Dialysis / methods
  • Renal Dialysis / standards