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Blended Teaching in Health Professions Education

Special Issue: Blended Learning Technologies in Healthcare

By Anita Samuel / February 2023

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Healthcare professions education refers to medical education, nursing education, dental education, pharmaceutical education, physician assistant training, etc. Healthcare professions are seen as hands-on and interactive [1]. And historically, traditional face-to-face education has been prioritized in healthcare professions education [2]. However, as George Thibault of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation noted, “When used right, technology can free up time and facilitate opportunities for health professions students and faculty to master skills like patient-centered care and teamwork—competencies that are at the heart of good medicine” [3].

Today’s healthcare professions use cutting-edge technologies in patient care. Virtual reality is used to treat a range of mental illnesses and conditions, artificial intelligence is speeding up drug discovery processes, and telemedicine is making medicine accessible to remote populations [4]. And these are just a few examples. Healthcare professionals interact with technologies on a daily basis. However, the use of technology for education has not been widely adopted by healthcare professions educators.

This special issue, “Blended Learning Technologies in Healthcare,” explores how educators in different healthcare professions adapted their teaching to the online environment. From dental education, nursing education, medical school, and residency programs, the curated articles showcase the use of educational technologies in a broad health professions landscape. The authors in this special issue are all practicing health professions educators, and they share their innovations and lessons learned through the transition to online and blended teaching.

The blended and elearning strategies highlighted in this special issue might not showcase high-tech virtual reality simulations or engaging, interactive learning objects. These are, however, stories of everyman. The authors share the struggles they had and the teaching strategies they designed to best serve their learners. For example, authors share how they have used QR codes to provide just-in-time training for busy medical professionals, or how they are now recording lectures to make content more easily accessible to students. Interactive videos with embedded quizzes and VoiceThread are also discussed within the issue.

There are two challenges that this special issue seeks to address:

  1. Professional disciplines like health professions, engineering, law, etc. have all been reluctant to embrace blended learning and elearning. This issue showcases some of the initiatives that educators are taking as they move towards blended learning.
  2. Innovations tend to be siloed within each field. Therefore, many people outside healthcare professions education or engineering are not aware of the blended and elearning initiatives within these fields. This special issue seeks to draw healthcare professions education into mainstream conversations on blended and eLearning 

This special issue can be the beginning of new dialogues in elearning where we step beyond higher education and K-12 education and explore education in the professions.


[1] Weiner, S.  No classrooms, no clinics: Medical education during a pandemic. AAMCNEWS. April 15, 2020.

[2] Lawrence, L. When medical education moves online. ASH Clinical News. January 2022.

[3] Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. Technology in Health Professions Education. 2015 Annual Report. 2015.

[4] Burke, H. Top 10 new medical technologies 2022. Proclinical. April 14, 2022.

About the Author

Anita Samuel is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Distance Learning at the Center for Health Professions Education, Uniformed Services University. She holds a Ph.D. in adult education and has extensive experience in the development and implementation of innovative educational programs and curricula. Her research focuses on online learning, the use of technology in education, and continuing professional development of healthcare professionals. In her role at the Center for Health Professions Education, Dr. Samuel is responsible for designing and delivering evidence-based education programs that utilize technology to enhance student learning and engagement. She is a strong advocate for the integration of technology in education and is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare education and patient care. Dr. Samuel is an active member of several professional organizations and has published numerous articles and presentations on the use of technology in education. 

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