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The evolving landscape of medical education, part one

What do we mean by medical education?


In this new mini series, Dr Shanida Nataraja, Axon Communication, discusses medical education. Specifically, who is being targeted by medical education, how it's being designed and delivered, whether it can be delivered strategically, and what impact budgetary constraints have had on the way it can be implemented.

What do we mean by medical education?

The term 'medical education' traditionally refers to any activity designed to develop, maintain or expand the awareness, understanding, skills or performance of healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Whilst, of course, basic medical education begins and ends in medical school or university, for all qualified HCPs, the need to learn about advances in their therapeutic fields continues throughout their professional careers.

This is where medical education, both accredited and non-accredited, plays a critical role.

In some cases, medical education is supported by international or national medical societies or other independent organisations. In other cases, it is delivered by healthcare communications agencies and sponsored by, or supported through unrestricted educational grants from, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

Despite some critics expressing misgivings over the objectivity and ethics of industry-sponsored medical education, generally speaking, HCPs perceive these educational programmes to be an invaluable offering and most key stakeholders acknowledge that academic medicine and industry need to form effective partnerships to drive forward the advancement of clinical practice.

In recent years, the term 'medical education' has also been expanded to include activities designed for other key healthcare stakeholders, from patients and their carers through to payers. A series of educational tools designed to encourage patients to remember to take their medications can therefore also be considered to be 'medical education', despite the fact that its target audience is not the medical profession.


Author: Dr Shanida Nataraja is the editorial and scientific director at Axon Communications and can be contacted at 

19th September 2012

From: Marketing



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