The need for online video as a form medical education isn't coming….its now.
As more than 60% of the nation uses the internet to conduct their medical education to search for information pertaining to topics such as cancer, diabetes, weight loss or knee surgeries, the basic issues of using that source for education remain: accessibility and quality. Finding content critical to someone's specific query remains difficult. In most cases, it requires multiple searches in basic education websites that will result in general information or basic articles. If the viewer can last through the 2000 word essay, can they trust the content wasn't influenced or directly written by advertisers?
This is an issue remedied by the use of video. Video has the ability to authenticate the source of content in ways no other medium can. It's one thing to listen to a doctor's commentary, it can be helpful to access an entry from one his or her journals but it can be most impactful to see and hear what a doctor has to say about a medical issue facing today's patients.
A recent Washington Post article, dated 7/23/12, criticizing the Khan Academy's use of a video library to help student education focused on the lack of quality presentation and ineffective presenters but failed to address the fundamental reasons for the website's success. The Khan Academy has received over 3000 videos and 160 million views because it offers viewers self pacing, self selection and speed of information. True, not all videos are in HD quality but their length increases the reasons for video's power in education.
Our health care system could be better served by learning from the lessons of the Khan Academy. Viewers are indeed learning and choosing to learn from quick educational content. A better informed public is at hand through a similar approach where viewers can choose which physician they want to learn from and where visitors can access a variety of opinions on different subjects via online or smart phone ….quickly.