Healthcare is one of those industries that have become increasingly technologically dependent. Year after year, new and advanced medical technologies are introduced and used, and old ones become obsolete and are thrown away. Healthcare professionals, including nurses, are under increasing pressure to learn how to utilize these technologies. Computer-based tools are becoming ubiquitous in many activities and procedures as well as in the field of instruction and education of healthcare professionals and workers. Learning how to manipulate these interactive technologies is critical for every healthcare professional and instructor.
The interactive technology used in an educational setting involves anything that a camera lens can see including images from documents, physical samples, specimens, and 35-mm slides. These images are transmitted to computers with the use of hardware or software devices that allow the display of the images; visual aids are critical for presenting to the staff or a class so that they can understand the subject better. Documents and images are usually delivered via PowerPoint presentations and other such software. Videotapes, photos, and audio presentations can easily be integrated into one program and presented via a standard Windows PC, creating an interactive, dynamic and cost-effective teaching tool. Media for presentation or projection include various options such as LCD projectors or displays, large TV monitors, rear projection systems, and so on. Courses can be tailor-fitted to audience expectations using various presentation forms.
What is great about interactive and computer-based equipment is their flexibility. They can be used as a tool for instruction and education for staff, students, and patients. They can be used in an academic setting as well as a conference or a meeting, whether in a physical or a virtual setup. Because technologies are becoming smaller and smaller and more user-friendly in design, they are very mobile and can be easily taught to and understood by novice users. Technological equipment is very cost-effective because they can serve multiple functions and purposes in various settings.
The effectiveness of these technologies, however, will depend a lot on the type and form of delivery, as well as the combination of software and hardware used. Choosing among a myriad of technologies from the simple to the complex can be perplexing. Take note that not because a technology is more advanced does not necessarily mean it is better. It is not enough to know how to use the equipment; one should also know how to make the most out of it and maximize its potentials. There is no use in buying the latest and the most expensive when it will only serve the same purpose as an older and vastly less expensive model. When it comes to using computer technologies in teaching, instructing and conferencing, one does not need complex systems and may well do with practically-designed ones.
What healthcare professionals and instructors should look for in learning systems and technologies is one that combines practicality and ergonomics. It should also be able to integrate the use of images, annotation, text, and video clips with traditional printed materials.