Electronic Book Works Health Care Series
The Electric Book Works (EBW) health care series consist of books developed by the Perinatal Education Trust and Eduhealthcare, not-for-profit organisations, which provide self-learning material that enable nurses and doctors to take responsibility for their own continuing medical education. Using the principles of problem-based self study, co-operative learning groups of colleagues, self-assessment, and limited local mentorship, the books have successfully enabled over 70 000 nurses, doctors and students to improve the care of their patients. Formal tutors are not needed; neither do participants have to leave their place of work to attend traditional teaching sessions at a centralised venue. A question-and-answer format with case studies, diagnostic and management flow diagrams, and before and after tests, is used. A self-applied end-of-course examination is provided for each book. This is a very cost-effective means of bringing learning opportunities to health care workers, especially those working in primary care facilities in rural areas.
A number of clinical studies have documented, in both local and international publications, the positive change in knowledge, skills, attitudes and patient care when the books are used. This innovative model of distance education has been used to adapt the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) course of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Current course books cover the topics of maternal and newborn health, child health, HIV and TB management, and care of well women. Numerous medical and nursing experts in all parts of South Africa have contributed to the contents of the books. Participants are invited to provide critical comment while the results of the final examinations provide on-going feedback to keep the learning materials relevant and up-to-date.
Recently the contents of these books have been made available, free of cost, on the Electric Book Works website (www.EBWhealthcare.com). The background to methods used and a list of publications demonstrating the success of the courses can be found on the Perinatal Education Programme (PEP) website (www.pepcourse.co.za).
With the vision of a national health insurance service, the EBW books, both in paper and electronic format, will enrich and support both basic and continuing education of health care workers.
- Professor Dave Woods