/Background : Many medical students around the world have no access to emergency medicine education despite its relevance to all future physicians, particularly in low-resource settings. Critical barriers include a lack of institutional support, insufficient local expertise, poorly adapted educational materials and unreliable internet. However, emerging app-based technology provides an innovative opportunity and feasible method to overcome these barriers.
Objective : Despite these barriers, interest in emergency medicine remains high at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. To address this gap, partners at Makerere University and Stanford University created and piloted a novel, blended methods EM curriculum. The purpose of this course was to test strategies that increase access to EM education and assess the feasibility of implementing a blended methods curriculum in a resource limited setting.
Methods : The course focused on five areas: initial patient assessment, basic life support, shock, trauma, and wound care. We leveraged previously created educational videos, balanced with in-person skill sessions to optimize the use of our Ugandan EM colleagues. The online components of the course are hosted on a purpose-built, offline enabled mobile application, overcoming barriers posed by expensive and unreliable internet access. Knowledge was assessed with pre- and post-testing, while attitudes were assessed via qualitative survey.
Outcomes : Test scores improved significantly (+15%, p value <0.001). Student confidence assessing the chief complaints covered in the course also increased significantly. Access to the course was characterized as “easy” if not “very easy” by 65% of students. After the course 95% of students felt an course should be required, 97% would like to take another higher-level course, and >90% stated they were either “extremely likely” or “somewhat likely” to pursue post-graduate training in EM.