Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Education and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Doctors and nurses benefit from interprofessional online education in dermatology

Thomas Schopf* and Vibeke Flytkjær

Author Affiliations

Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine, University Hospital of North-Norway, P.O. Box 6060, 9038 Tromsø, Norway

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:84  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-84

Published: 14 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Benefits of online learning in the health sector have been demonstrated in previous studies. We examined the potential benefits of a joint web-based curriculum on atopic eczema for health personnel.

Methods

Enrolled doctors and nurses had access to the curriculum for 8 weeks. After the course learners completed a questionnaire. Two dermatologists rated the quality of the submitted homework assignments. Based on data from the project's budget and the Norwegian Medical Association, we estimated the saved travel expenses.

Results

Eighty-eight learners (46 doctors) registered for the course. We received 55 questionnaires (response rate 63%). Twenty-seven learners (31%; 16 doctors, 11 nurses; χ2 = 0.03; P = 0.87) used the discussion forum. We found no significant differences in the total questionnaire scores between doctors and nurses. The homework assignments were given an average score of 3.6 for doctors and 3.5 for nurses (P = 0.8) by rater 1. Rater 2 scored 3.9 and 3.6 for doctors and nurses respectively (P = 0.2). The break-even between travel/hotel expenses and course development costs occurred at 135 saved travel refund applications.

Conclusions

Doctors and nurses were equally satisfied with a joint web-based course on atopic eczema. The use of an online discussion forum was limited but similar between doctors and nurses. There were no significant differences in the quality of submitted homework assignments. The cost of developing the course was 716 841 NOK and the first 86 learners saved 455 198 NOK in travel expenses.