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ESC eLearning platform - update in 2014

The new education and training frontiers in interventional cardiology based on evidence and performance evaluation


After 4 years of development the ESC e-learning platform from the EAPCI/ESC continues on its road of success. This project was created to respond to the need of developing a harmonisation tool able to provide high standard training and education not only for Europe, but also beyond Europe, in the rest of the World.

In 2014, EAPCI developed a survey and analysed the data collected in order to better understand the current situation of the interventional cardiology training and education in Europe. The results of this survey were quite clear: there is a large heterogeneity in many parameters including the duration of the training needed to become a certified interventional cardiologist. The same is truth for the number of procedures needed during the training. Data from another ESC survey showed that despite the fact that 66% of the countries reported to have an educational platform, only 13% stated they have a training platform.
This is probably the reason why 93% of these countries are willing to use the EAPCI e-learning platform at the national level.

Taking into consideration these results the question is: do we have inside our interventional cardiology community the tools to solve this heterogeneity and to promote the harmonisation of the training and education in Europe?
The answer is yes! EAPCI already set up the training and education standards in interventional cardiology by delivering the EAPCI Core curriculum.

Then the next question is: do we have the tool that allow us to deliver these standards?
And the answer is also yes!
We do have the ESC eLearning platform to deliver these standards. This is today the backbone of all the process of education and training inside the ESC.

In fact, it connects the work of several committees inside the ESC with the goal of providing, education, training, certification, and re-certification. Only the ESC can offer all these features at the same time. Needless to say that all these ESC committees are depending on the hard work of volunteers who spent thousands of hours of their lives to support their profession and their patients in Europe. At the end of the day, the main goal is to improve procedures, and to deliver a high standard of training and education to our European cardiologists and a high standard of care to our European patients.

The news in 2014

This year at the ESC Congress 2014 in Barcelona, a new version of the e-learning platform was presented. This new version is bringing new features such as General Cardiology training, beyond the six sub-specialties already available. The full delivery of the General Cardiology programme is expected to occur in the spring of 2015.

Another important new feature on the platform is the possibility of allowing continuous medical education (CME) and continuous professional development (CPD) not only for those who finish their training using the platfform, but also for those who are already qualified doctors and want to easily maintain themselves updated in their area of expertise.

Finally, this new version will allow the presence of educational materials in local languages in parallel to the European educational materials. These educational materials in local language can be the result of a direct translation of a European educational material or it can be produced originaly at the national level and uploaded into the platform. This new feature is certainly important for some countries in Europe and around the world.

The EAPCI/ESC eLearning platform success can be demonstrated in several ways. One is the number of trainees, 168, who already enrolled in the programme developed by EAPCI. They are coming from 48 different countries around the world.
Another fact is the number of online courses produced in the last 4 years, which has been really fantastic. The interest shown by nurses and allied professionals as well as from our industry partners in this project is certainly also a proof of its success.

The future: evidence based education/training and performance evaluation

With the support of educationalists it will be possible in the near future to include within the project totally new concepts in the cardiology field such as evidence-based education and training and objective clinical performance evaluation.
With the continuous use of the platform we will be able to generate an extraordinary amount of valuable data (evidence). Moreover, randomised clinical trials in education and training will generate evidence as well. All this information will allow us to design better education and training for the future.

Clinical performance evaluation has been based until now on the number of procedures the trainee needs to obtain in a specific period of time together with a subjective evaluation of the trainee’s technical and cognitive skills. There are however, better ways of evaluating clinical performance by using innovative techniques within the platform. One of this techniques is biomedical simulation. Biomedical simulation allows the objective evaluation of performance by measuring the number of errors, the decisions that are taken, the time needed to achieve the goal and if the goal is achieved. However, simulation is not widely available and this lack of availability is expected to be maintained for the near future. One good alternative is the development of “micro clinical cases” that are created with the purpose of measuring the trainee’s performance in the presence of his or her mentor. By using these “micro clinical cases” the mentor will be able to evaluate in an objective way several clinical performance parameters and to measure progression.

These concepts are the new frontiers of the medical education and training in cardiology and are expected to be available within the e-learning platform in the near future.

The future is around the corner! Stay tuned!


PS. For those National Cardiac Societies that did not appoint yet their national coordinator for EAPCI e-learning platform, please do so ASAP. Without your contribution, this offer won't be available in your country.