Inspire Health Breastfeeding Online Medical Education
The Bower Foundation supports systemic and sustainable improvements in the health and education infrastructure of Mississippi. They wanted to find a way to stress the advantages of breastfeeding to professional clinicians and those studying to become part of the professional health care workforce. To be offered as either an adjunct or core component to medical education programs throughout the state of Mississippi, and also for professional development of currently practicing clinicians, the new breastfeeding eLearning platform would represent The Bower Foundation’s expansion into high quality online medical education for all. Reflecting their new commitment to provide medical education to universities and working clinicians throughout the state, The Bower Foundation created the Inspire Health name to stand for its revitalized focus on providing high quality eLearning in Mississippi.
The new Breastfeeding Inter-Professional Education eLearning platform would center upon multimedia course content comprised of slides accompanied by voice-over narration and citations, action stops with question prompts to encourage deeper thought on key topics, references to relevant online resources, and role-playing videos that feature clinicians as well as expectant and new mothers talking about the importance of breastfeeding, how to do it, the health advantages for the growing baby, and problems they’ve encountered and how to overcome them. The virtual medical simulation is divided into four cases dealing with broader subjects, and each case moves through different media types to target a wide variety of learning styles and thus help ensure memory retention on the part of the learner.
Each case has its own pretest and posttest, and learners would be required to achieve 70% or better on all tests in order to pass the course. Upon successful completion, users would be awarded personalized certificates of completion that they can show to their professors for course credit, or to their employers as evidence of their continuing medical education for those taking the course professionally. The platform would also be accessed through both an existing learning management system and its own login and course management structure, along with direct access for other users coming from schools outside of The Bower Foundation’s main partner, the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Administrative features would offer highly detailed, filtered metrics along with management of specific school programs identified during registration, access to school-specific metrics reports for designated school administrators, and more.
The Bower Foundation provided the role-playing videos and voice-over narrations accompanying the synced media slide presentations. DDA programmed the course flow, with very stringent gating to ensure that each user watched the full video content from start to finish at least once, along with listening to the full voice-over narration accompanying each slide at least once, and reviewed all slides in each slide deck before proceeding. DDA synced all the slides with voice-over narrations in a custom media player designed specifically for this purpose, and to maintain the strict content gating governing the user’s progress through the course. DDA also built the action stops that prompt the user to respond to questions outside of the testing environment to maintain engagement during progress through the course, with instant feedback provided including numerous citations and references to online resources where learners can find more information on the particular topic.
DDA built all the tests to bookend each case that divides the full course into segments. Each user gets two times to try the posttest. They are offered feedback including references to specific course content on questions answered wrong on their first attempt so they are more likely to learn the material on which they are weakest. The second posttest provides the answers if they get any question wrong so they may come away from the module remembering the specific information.
The registration system DDA built for this virtual medical simulation is especially original. The back-end administrative area allows Inspire Health to set up schools which are associated with school-specific administrators and programs of study along with designated email domain names. The registration system uses the email domain names associated with the schools to allow only those who have an active school email account to register and gain access to the course, with links to the registration page emailed specifically to individuals upon their registration request. When students register, they are presented with only those medical programs of study available at their specific school as governed by the administrative back-end. All school information can be managed and updated on the back-end to evolve over time with the school, such as adding areas of study when universities expand their curricula.
The Inspire Health Breastfeeding Inter-Professional Education virtual medical simulation also includes highly detailed metrics reports. General administrators from UMMC and The Bower Foundation/Inspire Health can view the user demographics and metrics on users from all schools, in addition to those coming in from the learning management system at use in UMMC. They can filter individual user demographics and performance metrics by school. Individual metrics reports include name, start date and time, date of certification, time spent in the course overall and on each case, the average pretest and posttest score, the overall score for pretests and posttests each, each user’s past experience with breastfeeding, each user’s professional and scholastic backgrounds, and each user’s evaluation of the medical education eLearning course.
Administrators can also review global performance summaries for all users or those from just one school, individual test responses on each question, and global summary of the test responses for all users or just those from a particular school. These reports are offered as spreadsheets that are emailed directly to administrators, who can further process information on the spreadsheets as they see fit. Additional features of the platform include an instructor’s guide to help teachers using the virtual medical simulation in the context of their own course, a comprehensive bibliography documenting all sources of information, and a Help request form that prompts users to provide detailed information on their problem and the workstation they used to access the medical eLearning website (e.g., browser, computer type and computing power, operating system, internet connection, etc.) to help facilitate technical support.
The Inspire Health Breastfeeding Inter-Professional Education virtual medical simulation has been very positively received. More and more schools are adopting the platform, and there are now discussions to market it as a worldwide educational initiative. Following the success of the Breastfeeding medical eLearning platform, Inspire Health worked with DDA again to develop another course, this one centered on the topic of the history of health insurance in the United States and how it works today. DDA and Inspire Health are already planning for a third eLearning module to be created, this focused on the relationship between nutrition, exercise, and overall health. The Inspire Health eLearning platforms are potent examples of how online medical education can help enhance the university experience and effectively teach hundreds of students in a professional, consistent, and verifiable manner to ensure that more medical students and professionals have the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for the care of their patients now and in the future.