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SKYMED is an initiative launched in 2000 dedicated to develop and operate on a pilot service phase an advanced satellite based e-Learning system to support Continuing Medical Education (CME) services. The final objective of the project was the set-up and validation of satellite services with performances not comparable to those available at present on Internet terrestrial systems and the definition of CME services as part of Telbios' spin-off company portfolio.
Continuing Medical Education (CME), or the broader term Continuing Professional Development, (CPD) is considered a moral obligation in many countries, not only for physicians but for all health care professionals. Without the continual education of health professionals, progress is not possible. New developments, methods, techniques, etc., in medicine and health care are being put into practice daily and a patient rightfully expects that doctors and nurses be able to administer "state of the art" medical care. Therefore, CME/CPD is an important issue for national authorities.
Aimed initially at physicians, but with eventual benefits for all medical workers, from hospital managers to nurses and surgeons, SKYMED's fundamental goal is to make Continuous Medical Education (CME) more readily available.
The SKYMED System consists of the following major elements:
The Project has been developed in 3 phases:
Overall, the learning model and content were well accepted and most participants consider distance education as a viable form of CME. In some cases, telephone interviews were used to assess progress and better evaluate participants' satisfaction or dissatisfaction: nurse participants expressed enthusiasm about the course and felt that others would benefit from this course; physicians expressed interest in distance education (eLearning) and in SKYMED courses in general.
What SKYMED team experienced during the project development is the need to have an integrated solution able to manage the whole learning and teaching process. The need is clear to have flexible e-learning systems which are designed for reuse and personalization, dynamically addressing the learning needs whenever and wherever they arise.
Based on this consideration there are some topics that SKYMED in the near future will take into account, as integration to the current provided functionalities, in order to be a competitive product on a commercial basis and these are:
SkyNurse, a project co-funded by the European Space Agency, developed by TelBios and Padova Ricerche for the distance education of nurses, takes into account part of these recommendations.