Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Vidcasting Project to Promote the Pharmacist's Role in Public Health

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Vidcasting Project to Promote the Pharmacist's Role in Public Health

Article excerpt


The first wave of the Internet generation (Net Geners) began to enter college over a decade ago, creating a paradigm shift for educators and the challenge of evolving pedagogy to meet the needs of the net-savvy learner. Digital age students express the desire for self-directed learning opportunities and interactive environments with multiple forms of feedback. They desire assignments that create a meaningful inquiry-based learning experience that is active rather than passive. (1)

As pharmacists worked over the past 2 decades to expand their care roles, the Internet revolution happened and precipitated fundamental changes to how pharmacy can and will interact with its patient populations, individually and in cohorts. One effect of this unprecedented technology expansion has been to render obsolete some traditional ways that pharmacists have thought about their roles as patient educators and advocates. Public health service activity no longer is expected to use primarily print-based tools (eg, fliers, posters, side-of-the-bus billboards, etc). One element within this technology revolution, the instantaneous ability to post video to the Internet for general access (ie, the YouTube phenomenon, otherwise known as vidcasting), is particularly important for 2 reasons. First, the scale of vidcasting is immense and accelerating. To better understand the scale of this phenomenon, one must consider the following numbers: Wikipedia reports 100 million video clip views daily; approximately 65,000 new videos uploaded daily; and approximately 20 million viewing visitors monthly. (2,3)

The judicious use of vidcasting as an instructional design method could offer students and pharmacists a new means to reach patients and serve as a needed tool to overcome some of the massive health education challenges faced by a US population with low general and health literacy levels. Whether or not health care providers approve of vidcasting as a means of public health messaging, this phenomenon is already taking place. Amid the millions of videos posted to the Internet, a subset responds to the public's desire for health-related information. A search of video clips devoted to the fairly simple topic of wart removal found 446 videos devoted to this issue, while a similar search on sunscreen and skin cancer retrieved 386 video clips. Searches for video clips addressing the more complex health care issue of asthma treatment

found 863 videos, and 5,080 video clips devoted to the topic of skin cancer alone. The problem with this content is source credibility: these videos can be and are produced by anyone with a cell phone camera or video camera and an Internet connection. Accuracy, quality, and/or credibility is not a guarantee. Equally as powerful as the sheer number (and rate of proliferation) of video clips that purport to offer viewers health-relevant information, is that this is a worldwide phenomenon, resulting in video postings in multiple languages, which, if well done, could offer pharmacists useful patient education tools.

Accepting the reality that their patients already use the Internet to retrieve medical information, and appreciating vidcasting's potential as a patient education medium, many leading North American medical centers, including Stanford University, Duke University, and the University of Wisconsin, are using YouTube and other Internet video distribution/sharing sites as vehicles to offer disease state education and community outreach. Similar activity has been initiated by community and government agencies. (2,4)

Research on the use of vidcasting as a health care tool or teaching strategy is limited, (6,7) with nothing found in the peer-reviewed pharmacy education literature. This paper is one attempt to rectify this omission and provide pharmacy educators with relevant information on Internet video use in higher education as well as a highly adaptable model project by which pharmacy educators can explore video creation as an instructional opportunity to meet key learning outcomes. …

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