Background: eHealth is the use of information and communication technologies to enable and improve health and health care services. It is crucial that medical students receive adequate training in eHealth as they will work in clinical environments that are increasingly being enabled by technology. This trend is especially accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as it complicates traditional face-to-face medical consultations and highlights the need for innovative approaches in health care.
Objective: This review aims to evaluate the extent and nature of the existing literature on medical student training in eHealth. In detail, it aims to examine what this education consists of, the barriers, enhancing factors, and propositions for improving the medical curriculum. This review focuses primarily on some key technologies such as mobile health (mHealth), the internet of things (IoT), telehealth, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Methods: Searches were performed on 4 databases, and articles were selected based on the eligibility criteria. Studies had to be related to the training of medical students in eHealth. The eligibility criteria were studies published since 2014, from a peer-reviewed journal, and written in either English or French. A grid was used to extract and chart data.
Results: The search resulted in 25 articles. The most studied aspect was mHealth. eHealth as a broad concept, the IoT, AI, and programming were least covered. A total of 52% (13/25) of all studies contained an intervention, mostly regarding mHealth, electronic health records, web-based medical resources, and programming. The findings included various barriers, enhancing factors, and propositions for improving the medical curriculum.
Conclusions: Trends have emerged regarding the suboptimal present state of eHealth training and barriers, enhancing factors, and propositions for optimal training. We recommend that additional studies be conducted on the following themes: barriers, enhancing factors, propositions for optimal training, competencies that medical students should acquire, learning outcomes from eHealth training, and patient care outcomes from this training. Additional studies should be conducted on eHealth and each of its aspects, especially on the IoT, AI, programming, and eHealth as a broad concept. Training in eHealth is critical to medical practice in clinical environments that are increasingly being enabled by technology. The need for innovative approaches in health care during the COVID-19 pandemic further highlights the relevance of this training.
Keywords: artificial intelligence; digital health; eHealth; electronic health records; health apps; internet of things; mHealth; medical education; programming; telehealth.
©Jean-François Echelard, François Méthot, Hue-Anh Nguyen, Marie-Pascale Pomey. Originally published in JMIR Medical Education (http://mededu.jmir.org), 11.09.2020.