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Teaching by Teleconference: A Model for Distance Medical Education across Two Continents

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DOI: 10.4236/ojog.2015.513106    2,847 Downloads   3,273 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Introduction: In Uganda, an estimated 120 obstetrician/gynecologists serve a population of 30 million people demonstrating the need to train additional skilled clinician leaders in reproductive health. In 2012, a partnership was formed with the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) in southwest Uganda and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, USA, in part to increase access to specialist training. This report presents an update in the development of a teaching conference between the institutions. Methods: In June 2012, a didactic teleconference between the institutions was instituted. Various conferencing tools were tried: direct telephone connection, VentriloTM conferencing system and SkypeTM via personal computer or smart phone. In Mbarara, Internet was accessed via cellular data. In Boston, Internet was accessed via hospital network or cellular data. All lectures were HIPAA compliant. PowerPoint lectures were stored in a collective DropboxTM that could be accessed and downloaded prior to lecture dates. Results: Over 30 months, 30 lectures were given. Lecturers included faculty and fellows from maternal fetal medicine, gynecology oncology, urogynecology, family planning, psychiatry and obstetric anesthesia. A patient case pertinent to the teaching topic framed the discussion. About 20 participants attended each lecture. Internet connectivity was the biggest challenge. Ultimately audio Skype via cellular data proved the most successful modality and became the method of choice. Conclusion: A successful collaboration in medical education via teleconference is sustainable, low cost, and beneficial to both resource-rich and resource-poor institutions. Expertise can be shared bilaterally and internationally by individuals potentially unable travel.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Boatin, A. , Ngonzi, J. , Bradford, L. , Wylie, B. and Goodman, A. (2015) Teaching by Teleconference: A Model for Distance Medical Education across Two Continents. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5, 754-761. doi: 10.4236/ojog.2015.513106.

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