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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 145-146

Adopting technology in pain education

Department of Pain Medicine, Virinchi Hospitals, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Date of Web Publication10-Jan-2017

Correspondence Address:
Muralidhar Joshi
102, Naveena Residency, Plot 39A, Road No. 2, Film Nagar, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad - 500 033, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-5333.197998

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How to cite this article:
Joshi M. Adopting technology in pain education. Indian J Pain 2016;30:145-6

How to cite this URL:
Joshi M. Adopting technology in pain education. Indian J Pain [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Aug 9];30:145-6. Available from: http://www.indianjpain.org/text.asp?2016/30/3/145/197998

In the day-to-day clinical practice, the incidence of pain of some origin is next only to the common cold. So, no wonder, pain specialty is growing by leaps and bounds with each passing decade. The reason is simple, pain is universal and obviously the relief has to be cosmopolitan. The scientific study of pain has exploded in the past three decades. Keeping in mind, a number of Pain Societies across the world have taken initiative to standardize pain education in medical professionals.

The predicted incidence of pain during the next two decades will be exacerbated by known or unknown hurdles to pain relief, especially in developing countries. The challenges are inadequate knowledge, inadequate resources for pain relief, failure to use opiates adequately, and the high cost of certain analgesics. All these barriers can be addressed to a larger extent, but a great amount of effort will be needed to counter them.

In a survey done by the International Association for Study of Pain in the year 2007, it was felt that the biggest limiting factor for pain management has been a lack of pain education. The observations were inadequate training in pain management for undergraduates, less than half doctors are trained in this sector in most countries, 91% said lack of training is the main barrier, and so on. There are problems and hurdles in every country of its own sort.

In this situation, the challenges or hurdles in front of us in India are; with close to 500 medical colleges and 50,000 undergraduates passing out from medical schools every year, how do we teach them if policymakers do not perceive the need of the hour? Well, we also have so many nursing, pharmacy, and physiotherapy/rehabilitation training colleges, to name a few, to add to the numbers. As one can see there is acute shortage of faculty, many doctors stay in rural areas; how do we reach public and professionals at remote locations? Yes, we have an answer in the form of technology which can assist us in various sectors. Well, we can express our views in this sector by virtue of our experience over the last one and half decade.

With the penetration of the internet to nook and corner, we have many options such as e-classroom, e-books, e-learning, e-journals, e-library, and as new tools and gadgets get added, we are able to reach much deeper pockets. You will be surprised to know that a free e-learning program launched on Udemy on the Principles of Pain Management by us in the year 2013 has more than 3800 students across the globe and we are still counting…

This shows the immense potential of technology in redefining Pain education world over. This seems to be the need of the hour.

The trend appears to be that class rooms should be equipped with more challenge-based and active learning. The students should be able to work, learn, & study whenever and wherever they want to do. The IT support should be cloud based & centralized. The teaching should involve hybrid learning (both online & offline) and involve lot of collaborative models. This should not be a problem with abundance of information available on the internet.

However, there are challenges; economic pressures and new modes of education will be a challenge to traditional teaching. Slowly, digital media literacy is raising its head and it is becoming obvious that there is increase in the number of students and decrease in faculty numbers. Universities are running for covers to get funds and retain faculty; the pressure is coming onto students for paying more course fees. We talk about cost reduction, but there are institutional barriers. We need to bring awareness among faculty about the changed teaching methodology. Of course, the teaching methodology should not lose focus on hands-on skills.

There are a lot of new technologies which are making their mark as per the available time frame; immediately available tools such as mobile applications and tablet computing followed by game-based learning (virtual patients and virtual learning), and learning analytics. This becomes relevant given limited available cadavers, clinical situations, and language limitations. The state-of-the-art simulators can make a difference in practising clinical skills when compared to real-time patients. This can avoid all uncomfortable situations such as inconvenience to patients, errors by trainees, complications and other unpleasant things during interventions. The advantages are real-time feel of tissues, surface landmarks, and other things. It will not end here, this will be followed by gesture-based learning and the internet of things.

The near-term horizons such as mobile applications and tablet computing offer flexibility, data storage, and usage, as and when and wherever the person is located. Having said that the mid-term horizon shows game-based learning which has components such as collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, the other component of mid-term horizon happens to be learning analytics which involves data mining, data gathering tools, analytic techniques, and dynamic learning environment. In essence, it fits into evaluating a football game.

The long-term horizon involves two components. The first component considers gesture-based learning involving mouse and keyboard to register the motions of body, facial expressions, and voice recognition. This leads to convergence of user thoughts with their movements, bringing out an interactive phase something like touch screen. The second component which is a distant vision of the Internet of things (well, not impossible) creates a small category of devices or methods which if utilized in proper sector and assigned to a new identifier leads to real-time access anywhere and anytime.

Working toward this way of teaching modality might look difficult to start with, but when you plot projects worked on "y-axis" and time spent on "x-axis," it looks pretty simple. The steps to achieve success in this module follow three steps: "Get Familiar with task in hand," "Get Experienced enough," and then you will automatically "Achieve mastery" in your chosen path. It is said that focus on excellence and not on by-product of the task in your hand.

The aim should be in developing an educational force not only consisting of doctors and nurses but also consisting of district officers and other health workers. Provide access to information with available tools and encourage sharing of information in regard to own success and failures, by setting an example, group discussions, etc.

To summarize, we would like to express that you must start with defining your challenges and hurdles. Following this, set realistic expectation as mastery is not achieved overnight. Always keep your eye on the goal, do not lose focus; conduct as many mentorship programs. Develop good communication skills.

We conclude by expressing our views as there is no substitute for hands-on training, but e-learning is here to stay.

Long Live ISSP


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