Does format matter when educating healthcare professionals?
4th April 2023
Written by HRS Communications
In today’s world of rapid advancements in the healthcare industry, it is more important than ever for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to stay up-to-date on new developments and best practices. But with so much information available, how important is format when it comes to educating healthcare professionals to ensure that they are getting the most out of your content?
We recently tuned in to the MedComms webinar on this topic and we’ve summarised HRS’ take on how to approach educating HCPs with format in mind.
Start with the end
The first place to start is to consider what you are trying to achieve from a learning perspective before you develop an educational programme.
Setting clear learning objectives means that the learner can visualise what they need to learn and the steps they need to take to get there. These goals can be SMART (S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Achievable, R=Relevant, T=Timely).
An agreed end objective also clarifies which areas of learning need to be emphasised to make sure time and resources spent building education are only used on the essential components.
At HRS, we work with writers and creators with accredited backgrounds in the nutrition, dietetic and healthcare fields. By understanding the target audience’s learning needs, we are able to set defined parameters on where learners need to focus their efforts.
It’s not a one size fits all approach when it comes to educating healthcare professionals
HCPs have different preferences when it comes to learning– it’s not a one size fits all, so it’s important not to assume all HCPs are the same.
For example, some people are visual learners, others are auditory or prefer to read/write, and some are kinaesthetic learners.
Furthermore, there are a variety of formats that can be used such as in-person events, e-learning, video discussions, webinars, podcasts or downloadable materials. However, different formats are suitable for different learning goals.
If you are concerned with increasing awareness on a certain topic, a webinar might be best for this. On the other hand, if the aim is to increase learning and comprehension and deeper understanding of the clinical implications is required, case studies and/or e-learning are valuable tools.
Demonstrating real world impact of a programme can be particularly challenging. This involves HCPs taking their learnings to shape their own clinical practice through behaviour change. For this, self-directed learning can deliver high engagement so that clinicians can see application of treatment and guidelines into clinical treatment scenarios.
Consider key drivers of education
MedComms sampled 1927 HCPs across three 2022 European Congresses to find out more about HCP education preferences. All had experience with independent multimodal, educational programmes and they investigated two areas of medicine: a rare disease and breast cancer.
They found that whilst educational format is the key driver to encourage sign up, the following factors were also important:
- Continuing Medical Education (CME) accreditation
- Society/congress affiliation
- Length of format
- Ability to ask questions
- Relevance to their profession
Don’t make it easy for healthcare professionals to avoid signing up or to drop out
In the same survey, MedComms found that factors such as a lengthy registration process and complex navigation are a deterrent for HCPs when considering whether or not to complete education. Although these aspects of the education can often be overlooked, a lengthy sign-up process can be a barrier to HCPs registering to attend. In addition, when education is hosted online such as a webinar or an e-learning course, if the navigation is unclear, HCPs will quickly lose interest.
Other education pitfalls to be aware of included lack of relevance to therapy area/geographic region and association with an unknown faculty.
Convenience is a priority
We all know that HCPs are busy and short on time. At HRS, we work with clients to ensure that education is available on-demand so that HCPs can personalise the way they consume this type of content, accessing it whenever and wherever.
Another good tip is to break longer form content down into ‘snackable’ content. This means delivering ‘micro-learning’ in which short, concise pieces of content are offered to the learner alongside ‘nudge-learning’ tactics which utilises positive reinforcement to augment skill development. It has been suggested that this type of education improves retention as its concise nature leads to shorter, but more frequent education.
At HRS, we can offer copywriting and educational content services for B2B, B2C and HCP audiences. Our medical writing and copywriting services include case studies, white papers, slide decks, advertorials, features, blogs, e-learning courses, websites, brochures, social media copy and newsletters.