Continuous Activity in Telemedicine Focused on Teaching Cardiology A. Pacher, R. Lombardo, R. Ortego, E. Schapachnik, S. Eskenazi, S. Nanfara, J. Sanagua, M. Heñin, S. Berman, PCVC Group. Argentine Federation of Cardiology-FAC and Bioengineering-National University of Entre Ríos-FIUNER. Argentina
Argentine Federation of Cardiology - FAC, through its Centre of Medical Teleinformatic - CETIFAC has maintained a continuous activity on telemedicine using Internet as an educational tool since 1998 (www.fac.org.ar). CETIFAC was created in 1994 by an agreement between FAC and Bioengineering of National University of Entre Ríos to improve cardiologic postgraduate education in Argentina. CETIFAC human resources are twenty moderators who work pro bono (PCVC group) and three staff members. Two Linux servers are owned by FAC. Main educational activities are virtual congresses on cardiology - VCC, Forum on Continuous Education on Cardiology - FECC and Virtual Campus. VCC were developed in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 (the last being currently developed). All the conventional activities of a medical congress are provided including lectures, symposia, courses, brief communications and forums. Activities for physicians, nurses, technicians and the general public are organized. English, Spanish and Portuguese are the official languages. Forums are moderate and messages are translated and distributed in three languages. For subscribers in countries without free access to the Web (e.g.: Cuba), FTPMail system has been configured so that they can request and receive all kinds of digital files by e-mail. Each VCC has had an increasing number of participants and countries. Therefore, the 1st had (participants/countries) 7,574/75, the 2nd 11,700/107, the 3rd 13,638/122, the 4th 18,155/128. The 5th VCC (www.fac.org.ar/qcvc), in progress, which started on September 1st, had on October 13th, 22,265 participants from 133 countries (being the first ten countries Argentina/8021, Spain/1946, Peru/1608, Cuba/1565, Mexico/1429, Brazil/1426, Colombia/899, Uruguay/755, Venezuela/605, USA/573). In the interval between congresses, the activities continue in Spanish through the FECC and the Virtual Campus. FECC activities consist of clinical rounds, case discussions, bibliographical guides, thematic updating, symposia, courses, self-assessment and accreditation activities. Forums have nearly 9,000 subscribers with an average of 422 per forum. Virtual Campus (www.fac.org.ar/campus) started in 2005 using Course Management System Moodle as platform and up to now has developed 3 courses and 3 consensuses. Campus users are 1,067 from 26 countries (being the first ten Argentina/645, Peru/70, Cuba/47, Mexico/45, Colombia/44, Spain/38, Uruguay/25, Venezuela/23, Ecuador/18, Brazil/17); 97 people have taken the courses and 1,017 have entered the consensuses. These activities began to improve cardiologic postgraduate education in Argentina and have been sustained. Nowadays, they reach people from other Spanish-speaking countries. They have become a distance-learning environment which is much more than an exchange of medical information on the Internet.
Postgraduate and Systematic Distance Learning Experience in Cardiology R. Ortego, A. Pacher, S. Berman, T. Bertuzzi, A. Carli, B. Kennel, R. Lombardo, S. Nanfara. Argentine Federation of Cardiology-FAC and Bioengineering-National University of Entre Ríos-FIUNER. Argentina
One of the principal targets of the Argentine Federation of Cardiology (FAC) is the promotion of learning and update in Cardiology. The Centre of Medical Teleinformatic of the FAC, CETIFAC, has been working since 1998 in distance learning environments (DLE) on the Internet using Linux based open source and free software. The 1st Virtual Congress of Cardiology (www.fac.org.ar/cvirtual) was an original experience. DLE on cardiologic postgraduate issues, have many pedagogical difficulties. Most Cardiologists do not have enough time for training in DLE, even those who are teaching in a traditional way. On the other side, it is quite frequent in postgraduate update to convoke some people requiring specific expertise. The focus is on teaching more than on learning and neither feedback from the students nor pedagogical backgrounds from the experts are of great concern. Looking to improve DLE, CETIFAC began to work with MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) in 2005 for a Virtual Campus (VC) platform (www.fac.org.ar/moodle). MOODLE is an open source free Course Management System (CMS) software, copyright from Martin Dougiamas under the GNU-GPL (GNU-General Public License). MOODLE offers two ways of learning: resources and activities. Resource means classic forms of teaching: texts, audiovisual presentations, and the like. Activity means ways of interacting among learners and teachers: forums, questionnaires, lessons, to mention some. CETIFAC has offered and developed 3 courses and 3 clinical consensuses in the VC since June 2006. The courses were “Basic Biostatistics for Health Care Physicians”, “Some Aspects of Epidemiologic and Cardiovascular Prevention” and “Research Methodology”. The consensuses were “Venous Thromboembolism”, “Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” and “Cardiovascular Interventionism”. The term course is used in a restrictive way. A course means that the learning process has a scheduled program with resources but must have many activities with real learner-teacher interaction. A course must focus on learning.
Clinical consensus is a set of resources tending to obtain the state of the art on a particular issue. A consensus focuses on making guidelines. 17 teachers have participated in the courses and 64 experts in consensuses. 1067 people have registered like VC users up to now. They are from Argentina and other countries; 97 of them have taken the courses and 1017 have entered the consensuses. Interaction with the learners is a goal for DLE and it requires skilled people. It has been very hard to obtain a real and fruitful interaction between teachers and learners, since it is a challenge by itself to provide learners feedback with guest teachers in DLE. The appropriate use of CMS, such as MOODLE, means people who have the will and the time to train. It is improbable that occasional teachers accept to learn the aspects of the CMS. Distance education trained teachers are needed in DLE, which is more demanding than conventional teaching and therefore different.