Impact of online toxicology training on health professionals: the Global Educational Toxicology Uniting Project (GETUP)

Wong, A., Vohra, R., Dawson, A.H. and Stolbach, A., 2017. Impact of online toxicology training on health professionals: the Global Educational Toxicology Uniting Project (GETUP). Clinical Toxicology, pp.1-5.

Abstract

Objective: The Global Educational Toxicology Uniting Project (GETUP), supported by the American College of Medical Toxicology, links countries with and without toxicology services via distance education with the aim to improve education. Due to the lack of toxicology services in some countries there is a knowledge gap in the management of poisonings. We describe our experience with the worldwide delivery of an online introductory toxicology curriculum to emergency doctors and other health professionals treating poisoned patients.

Methods: We delivered a 15-module introductory Internet-based toxicology curriculum to emergency doctors and health professionals, conducted from August to December 2016. This Internet-based curriculum was adapted from one used to teach emergency residents toxicology in the United States. Modules covered themes such as pharmaceutical (n = 8), toxidromes (n = 2) and agrochemicals (n = 5) poisoning. Participants completed pre-test and post-test multiple choice questions (MCQs) before and after completing the online module, respectively, throughout the course. We collected information on participant demographics, education and training, and perception of relevance of the curriculum. Participants gave feedback on the course and how it affected their practice.

Results: One hundred and thirty-six health professionals from 33 countries participated in the course: 98 emergency doctors/medical officers, 25 physicians, eight pharmacists/poisons information specialists, two toxicologists, two medical students and one nurse. Median age of participants was 34 years. Median number of years postgraduate was seven. Ninety (65%) had access to either a poisons information centre over the phone or toxicologist and 48 (35%) did not. All participants expected the course to help improve their knowledge. Overall median pre-module MCQ scores were 56% (95%CI: 38, 75%) compared to post-module MCQ scores median 89% (95% CI: 67, 100%) (p < .0001).

Conclusions: Our participants demonstrated an increase in medical knowledge based on performance on MCQs. An online toxicology curriculum is an effective way to deliver education to health professionals treating poisoned patients and can help to bridge the knowledge gap and change practice in developed and developing countries.

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