Educating healthcare professionals in antimicrobial stewardship: can online-learning solutions help?

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Abstract

Education is widely recognized as one of the cornerstones of successful antimicrobial stewardship programmes. There is evidence of important knowledge flaws around antimicrobial prescribing among both medical students and clinicians. Educational interventions improve antimicrobial prescribing, but traditional tools may be insufficient to deliver training to meet the complex demands of global healthcare professionals working across a diverse range of healthcare and resource settings. The educational solutions increasingly need to be timely, efficient, pragmatic, high quality, aligned to the needs of the professional in a specific context, sustainable and cost-effective. Online learning has been playing a growing role in education about antimicrobial stewardship and the recent phenomenon of massive open online courses (MOOCs) offers novel and additional opportunities to deliver relevant information to a wide range of people. Additional research on MOOCs as an educational approach is needed in order to define their effectiveness, sustainability and the best ways to achieve the intended results. Although the precise value of new online strategies such as MOOCs is ill defined, they certainly will have an important place in increasing awareness and improving antimicrobial prescribing.

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