Background: Digitalization and patient empowerment result in new requirements and challenges. In response, the module "Clinical Telemedicine/e-Health" was implemented by the Faculty of Medicine of Zurich in 2008. The module was systematically evaluated to determine if the students would benefit from this course. In 2011, 2015, and 2016 further evaluations were performed.
Method: In 2008 and 2009, students evaluated 16 statements. We calculated the combined mean value and medians for both evaluations. In 2011, the same evaluation was conducted, and the results were compared through U-test. In 2015, students were asked about the application and benefits of telemedicine; the answers were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. In 2016, the University of Zurich created an online survey which integrated three of the statements from the original evaluations.
Results: Every mean value of the combined evaluations of 2008/2009, 2011, and 2016 achieved a score of over 4 on a 6-point scale. In 2011, and also again in 2016, the overall satisfaction and understanding of telemedicine as a supplement in traditional medical consultations increased as follows: 4.71 ± 0.74 versus 4.86 ± 0.93 versus 5.1 ± 1.5 and, respectively, 5.02 ± 0.96 versus 5.25 ± 0.81 versus 5.7 ± 0.6. In the 2015 evaluation, 93% of students indicated that they would use telemedicine for chronically ill and elderly patients.
Conclusion: The positive assessment of the module indicates the successful introduction of the topics of telemedicine and e-health to medical students at the University of Zurich. Throughout the course, the students gained confidence and basic skills.
Keywords: e-health; education; evaluation; telemedicine.