UAMS Offers Online Continuing Education Credits

By Ben Boulden

“Anybody who has any type of Internet access from a smartphone or tablet, a laptop or a desktop, can reach the website and video lectures archived there 24 hours a day and take a class for credit,” said Sarah Rhoads Kinder, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  “It’s compliant with Android, iPad and more.”

Learn On Demand (LOD), a product developed under the UAMS Center for Distance Health (CDH), allows users to track all their educational hours and credits earned inside or outside the program. The site also is compliant with the CE requirements for all three national accrediting organizations for physicians, nurses and pharmacists. Among the other health professions to which LOD is approved to offer continuing education are registered dietitians, case managers, lactation consultants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and emergency medical technicians.

Although online service is directed at providing continuing education first to Arkansas health care providers, it will be available for anyone else to use for a fee. An LOD user outside Arkansas can pay on the website for a class and begin taking it right away.

The UAMS CDH for several years has been offering continuing education classes through live videoconferencing.

“Many of the people who attend our weekly teleconferences through the interactive video network may not be able to stay the full hour for the conference, or they may not be able to attend that particular day but they like that topic,” Kinder said. “They wanted a way to go back on the computer and view that material when they can — after hours or on the weekends — and still receive their continuing education credit and the information.”

LOD is important to UAMS’ long-term goal of ensuring health care professionals statewide have equal access to educational tools. By using the site to maintain their skill sets, a physician, nurse or pharmacist in a rural part of Arkansas can be just as capable of delivering the same high-quality health care to their patients as their counterparts in urban areas, Kinder said.

The creation of LOD began in June 2012. Kesha James, an instructional development specialist in the Center for Distance Health who has worked on the site and service since then, said one of the major challenges was finding a system that would do everything they wanted it to do. Ultimately, a system and software provided by CE City was chosen.

In 2014, the Center for Distance Health plans to add a patient portal to LOD that will allow, for example, a pregnant mother with diabetes to receive video instruction in how to manage both her diabetes and her pregnancy.

Funding for LOD was secured through a grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and from the UAMS Center for Distance Health.