16.0: Thursday, March 17, 2005

Broadening Educational Horizons

Stephen Delatte, MD, John Noon, MD, Gustavo Herdocia, MD, Karol Gutowski, MD, and Michael Bentz, MD.

The exchange of educational information is an integral part of many medical/surgical missions. While the people of these underdeveloped countries are underserved in their medical care, the providers in these regions are likewise underserved in the informational resources available to them. When coupled with growing constraints on both time and monetary budgets, the need for a mechanism to allow transfer of information in an easy, reliable, and inexpensive manner to remote regions has been established. The authors describe their early experience with the current technology available. For our project, commercially available software that allows for real-time bi-directional exchange of information was utilized. The presentations are in a Microsoft PowerPoint format, and are broadcast with both audio and video capabilities. The quality of the audio/video components is determined by the bandwidth of the internet connection. Opportunities for questions are available either during or at the completion of each presentation. While there is no substitute for human interaction, we believe that the exchange of information can be greatly expanded by this and other similar technologies. As a result, providers in these remote regions not only have the opportunity to broaden their own education, but also to share their expertise with others.