Mobile healthcare is a rapidly evolving opportunity to leverage technology to improve access and quality of healthcare while reducing costs and increasing the mobility of patients and providers. Innovations are often created by technical experts without adequate knowledge of the interplay between various mobile health agencies (i.e. clinical, business, regulatory, etc.). In order to improve the communication and cross-silo collaboration between mobile health leaders in a variety of fields, a multidisciplinary approach to education is necessary. Integrative teaching has received relatively little recognition in the medical education literature. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary format to teach the topic of mobile healthcare to graduate students from various professional backgrounds.
During a one-week intensive course, 32 students received mobile healthcare training at George Washington University. Lectures given by a variety of experts explained how business models, research design, and policy influence mobile healthcare and global health needs. Surveys were administered to evaluate the impact of each lecture on students' growth in knowledge and level of communication based on their current field of study or employment using a 6-point Likert scale, excellent (1) to poor (6).
Students with knowledge of the lecture content gave an excellent rating of 1.61 in increased understanding of mobile healthcare. Students without content knowledge gave a very good rating of 2.38 in increased understanding of mobile healthcare. Ratings of increased ability to communicate in subject areas produced slightly lower results of 1.72 for those with content knowledge and 2.77 for those without. Analysis of ratings in specific subject areas was mostly consistent except for research design. This content area was given ratings closer to good in both increased understanding and communication by students with background knowledge (2.13, 2.24) and students without (2.96, 3.08).
The multidisciplinary format to teaching mobile healthcare appears to have a positive increase in student understanding and ability to communicate in associated fields. The impact of growth in knowledge was apparent for students with and without background knowledge regardless of content area. These results support the use of multidisciplinary education in fields such as mobile healthcare that require collaboration from various professions. Future studies will consider the long-term benefit and alternative modalities of integrative teaching methods.
Elhady, Dalya N. and Sikka, Neal, "Evaluating a Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Mobile Healthcare" (2013). GW Research Days 2013. Paper 8.