Machine learning, AI disrupting medical education and adaptive learning models

To Wolters Kluwer executive Cathy Wolfe, the shift into value-based care requires lifelong learning bolstered by new technologies that will prepare them for the evolving tech landscape.

Cathy Wolfe, Wolters Kluwer health learning, research and practice CEO and president

As the industry continues to shift into value-based care, many organizations are leveraging new technology to support care delivery. But new technology requires a change in how care is provided, which should begin in medical school and continue throughout a clinician’s career.

“Outcomes and staff retention are driven, in part, by providing access to lifelong learning to advance skills and knowledge,” said Cathy Wolfe, Wolters Kluwer health learning, research and practice CEO and president.

“Advanced technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and virtual simulation are transforming adaptive learning models in ways that optimize learning and improve knowledge retention,” she added.

As a result, many healthcare organizations are investing in staff development to support evidence-based care, which can improve outcomes, reduce care variability and help with high reimbursements, Wolfe explained.

Evidence-based training

To get the most out of the technology, clinical educators must tailor evidence-based training and orientation programs while keeping pace with the demand and high turnover rates among clinicians, Wolfe noted. “They must also focus on longer-term knowledge acquisition and continuing education.”

“Supporting live instructor-led training with a robust library of customizable online lesson plans and assets eliminates these challenges by leveraging the highly effective flipped classroom model to build upon nurses’ knowledge and grow their expertise over time,” Wolfe said.

“Integrating these lifelong learning resources with nursing decision support and best practice-based guidance at the bedside can reinforce knowledge retention and impact care outcomes and quality performance through standardized, evidence-based care,” she continued.

To Wolfe, these same models should be applied to providers, as well. The idea should be to educate providers on the way to deliver the right evidence at the right time for the best diagnosis and treatment.

The challenge is the massive amount of new published research. In fact, Wolfe said there are more than 1 million science and medical articles published annually, or a growth of about 6.3 percent.

A lack of time is also a challenge to shifting into value-based care, she explained. Organizations should work on bolstering productivity in three ways: delivering relevant data within their workflow, proactively suggesting information based on what they’re doing or data on conditions their treating, and by providing content in an easy-to-understand format and interface.

“All of the above relies on expert solutions that combine technology and high quality, evidence-based content resources,” Wolfe said.

Disrupting medical education

Medical schools are working to provide high-quality education that will support providers in delivering better outcomes while ensuring increased productivity and supporting better care delivery, explained Wolfe. The key focus is teaching better critical reasoning to improve diagnostic skills.

Traditional medical school education relied heavily on memorization. Wolfe said that Wolters Kluwer is working to support medical school faculty in shifting into a new educational model that will support providers in developing crucial critical reasoning skills.

To get there, educators need to engage students with adaptive quizzing, case studies and virtual anatomy, she explained.

“Adaptive quizzing uses machine learning to determine where students need more or less help in learning a concept,” said Wolfe. “If they know the concept well, they will still get questions on that topic, but at less frequent intervals. If they don’t know the concept well, they will get more questions.”

“The best tools link to high-quality content to help students fill in their knowledge gaps,” she added. “This saves the student time and helps them focus where they really need to learn. The other benefit of this approach is that it creates data and insights that the faculty can use to help determine where students need additional support to succeed.”

Even hospitals are investing in these types of educational models to make sure their residents are prepared to transition into practice, said Wolfe. It also helps clinicians become more productive by allowing them to train on the go without interrupting their daily work routine, instead of having to take time out for a course.

Wolfe took it a step further: “I think we will see more augmented reality and virtual simulation in education to give students more exposure to a wide variety of real-life clinical experiences.”

“I see opportunities to apply some of what we’ve learned from educators to the practice market as clinicians try to keep up with so many new developments in medicine while also maintaining their qualifications,” said Wolfe.

“While we already use machine learning in our adaptive quizzing, I see a lot of new opportunity to apply machine learning and AI to deliver insights more proactively versus the traditional search and retrieval workflow for information,” she added.

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