Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Continuing medical education goes virtual with launch of Virtual Diabetes Institute

Clinic Room for exams
Clinic room for exams in the Virtual Diabetes Institute
I promised you details on SciMed's new Virtual Diabetes Institute, and here they are. We've been working for the past several months with medical education provider SciMed to create this innovative learning environment in ProtoSphere. The initiative is supported by an independent educational grant from Merck.

The Virtual Diabetes Institute is one of the first applications of virtual environment technology in continuing medical education. It is used by physicians caring for Type 2 diabetes patients. Physicians can participate in CME-certified activities in a more realistic, engaging, and collaborative way to help them better treat patients.

I see the Virtual Diabetes Institute as significantly raising the bar on CME, and by extension, the treatment of patients with Type 2 diabetes.

I'll let our press release take it from here with the full story. Read on for more details on how we designed and created the Virtual Diabetes Institute, how physicians are now using it for their continued training and learning, and SciMed's future plans and outlook for the Virtual Diabetes Institute in life sciences.

SciMed Unveils Industry-First Virtual Diabetes Institute in ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere

Virtual collaboration environment brings continuing medical education to life

LANSDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Virtual collaboration has come to continuing medical education (CME) with the launch of the Virtual Diabetes Institute, an innovative learning environment created in ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere and developed with SciMed, a leading provider of continuing medical education for physicians. The Virtual Diabetes Institute gives primary-care physicians a more realistic, engaging, and collaborative way to participate in CME-certified activities designed to improve the management of patients with Type 2 diabetes.

“Numerous organizations, such as The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) have endeavored to improve the delivery of quality health care by describing requisite professional competencies, and by encouraging the development of innovative, engaging, relevant, and educationally sound activities for physicians,” says Matthew H. Weingarten, M.D., M.P.H., President of SciMed. “Principles articulated by these organizations underlie the educational framework of this initiative and we see the Virtual Diabetes Institute as a promising way to address these goals. It marks one of the first applications of virtual environment technology in continuing medical education.”

The facility

The Virtual Diabetes Institute is a two-story educational center with rooms of various sizes to accommodate different educational activities and events. It includes a courtyard, atrium, class and conference rooms, a lecture hall, an event hall, and a large auditorium. The first floor also has a virtual clinic with a waiting room and multiple examining rooms for diagnosing and treating virtual patients; and a media center, which houses audiovisual presentations.

Physicians can take the stairs or elevator to the second floor, which houses a library for relevant reference materials used during the CME program, as well as a conference room where physicians can meet and review materials. The second floor also features a private office for each physician where she starts her overall program and measures her progress. The only difference between the Virtual Diabetes Institute and a real building is that the Virtual Diabetes Institute can be visited at any time from any location simply by powering a PC and launching ProtoSphere. 

The program

SciMed worked with a nationally recognized, multidisciplinary faculty that are experts in the care of patients with Type 2 diabetes to create the overall curriculum for the Virtual Diabetes Institute. Its mission is to provide the latest information, clinical resources, practice tools, and educational opportunities for physicians committed to improving the health and lives of people with Type 2 diabetes.

The program is comprised of a series of five tracks covering diabetes screening and detection, and the optimization of glycemic control in patients with and without comorbidities. Each track includes various educational activities, such as independent study; group Q&A discussion sessions run by faculty leaders; ad hoc meetings with colleagues to share their learnings and opinions; virtual patients that physicians test, diagnose, and treat; and virtual conferences where physicians gather with their colleagues to discuss their experiences. Course materials feature multimedia content, such as audio, slides, interactive patient case studies, practice newsletters, and reference materials.

“Using ProtoSphere to support continuing medical education is perhaps the most natural application of our technology,” says Ron Burns, CEO of ProtonMedia. “ProtoSphere has not only been rooted in learning and training from the beginning of its development, it has also provided an engaging environment for users to meet, collaborate, and learn. Together with SciMed, we have raised the bar on CME. We see this project as the first inroad of virtual environment technology in CME with many more possibilities on the horizon to help physicians make practical, informed decisions to better treat patients.”

SciMed is currently rolling out the first two tracks of its Virtual Diabetes Institute with plans to launch the following three tracks by December 2011. The initiative is supported by an independent educational grant from Merck.

“Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major source of morbidity and mortality for millions of people in the United States, despite the availability of effective therapies,” says Dr. Weingarten. “Our hope with the Virtual Diabetes Institute is to support physicians in their efforts to improve outcomes for patients with T2DM.”


ProtonMedia is the developer of ProtoSphere, the market-leading virtual collaboration environment for the high-performance workplace, and the #1 virtual environment for collaborative PLM in life sciences. ProtoSphere’s virtual environment provides an arsenal of business-focused collaboration and communication tools that help companies accelerate decision-making and raise productivity, improving workplace performance overall. The company is a Gartner “Cool Vendor in the High-Performance Workplace” for 2010. Its customers include some of the world’s most respected brands, including AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck Inc., BP, Chevron, Duke University, Deloitte, TIAA-CREF, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. A trial version of ProtoSphere can be downloaded at http://protonmedia.com/trial-download/. For more information, visit www.ProtonMedia.com.


SciMed is an ACCME-accredited medical education provider with an uncompromising dedication to educational excellence. We are committed to enhancing physician knowledge, competence, and performance in order to narrow professional practice gaps and produce measurable improvement in patient outcomes. SciMed utilizes a rigorous and collaborative educational planning process that draws on the experience of multidisciplinary experts in adult education, clinical medicine, practice-based learning and improvement, and system-based practice. Our innovative educational interventions are developed using multiple interactive formats that support the various learning styles and engagement preferences of adult learners. This comprehensive approach to medical education is designed to enrich the learning experience, reduce barriers to behavior change, and improve the effectiveness of our programs.


Visit the ProtonMedia press kit online.

Virtual Diabetes Institute screen shots: http://blog.protonmedia.com/2011/08/doors-are-open-tour-life-sciences-first.html

ProtonMedia website: http://www.protonmedia.com/

ProtonMedia blog: http://blog.protonmedia.com/ 


Press contact:
Gregory FCA
Alicia Buonanno, 610-228-2096

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