Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: Sep 29, 2019
(currently open for review)
eHealthMap: A review of eHealth teaching in health and medical degrees in Australia
As digital technology use in society increases, so does the need for health professionals to engage in eHealth-enabled clinical practice. To do so, higher education institutions need to suitably prepare graduates of health professional degrees with the capabilities required to practice in eHealth contexts.
This study aimed to understand how eHealth is taught at a major Australian University, and the challenges and suggestions for integrating eHealth into allied health, nursing and medical university curricula.
Cross-disciplinary subject unit outlines (N=77) were reviewed for eHealth-related content, and interviews and focus groups conducted with the corresponding subject unit coordinators (N=26). Content analysis was used to identify themes around challenges and opportunities for embedding eHealth in teaching.
There was no evidence of a standardised approach to eHealth teaching across any of the health degrees at the university. Where eHealth content existed, it tended to focus on clinical applications rather than systems and policies, data analysis and knowledge creation, or system and technology implementation. Despite identifying numerous challenges to embedding eHealth in their subjects, unit coordinators expressed enthusiasm for eHealth teaching and were keen to adjust content and learning activities.
Explicit strategies are required to address how eHealth capabilities can be embedded across clinical health degrees. Unit coordinators require support including access to relevant information, teaching resources, and curriculum mapping that clearly articulates eHealth capabilities for students across their degree. Degree-wide conversations and collaboration is required between professional bodes, clinical practice, and the universities for overcoming the practical and perceived challenges of integrating eHealth in health curricula.
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