Five-Year Technological Changes of Distant Medical Education in Asia
All physicians would benefit from more comprehensive distance learning. However, the technology is often difficult to use because technological infrastructure is limited in many hospitals in Asia. Since 2003, we have worked to advance international distant medical education implemented through the Internet in Asia. This paper presents an analysis of our activities over the past five years to evaluate the technical transition and its effects on modes of distant medical education. Methods: We analysed distant medical education programmes that we conducted from 2011 to 2015. We used a Digital Video Transport System (DVTS), H.323 and Vidyo, along with commercial and research and education networks (REN) installed in the subject hospitals. Questionnaires were randomly distributed to the audience to evaluate image resolution, image movement, sound quality, and programme content. Results: The number of programmes increased to over 90 per year in 2014–2015. The main system gradually changed from DVTS (58%, 30/52 in 2011) to Vidyo (64%, 67/104 in 2015). The number of new institutions increased to 149 in 2014–2015. Over 92% of the ratings for image resolution and movement were positive. Sound quality was somewhat lower at 83%. Ultimately, 98% of respondents rated the programmes “very good” or “good.” Conclusions: Continuous technical development was observed with increasing numbers of sites for each programme. This resulted in expansion of activity involving non-university hospitals. Practical distant medical education, satisfies physicians’ need for quality and inclusiveness could be expanded to normal hospitals in Asia and beyond.
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