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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jun;276(6 Pt 2):S55-61.

Telemedical education: teaching spirometry on the Internet.

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Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Advances in portable equipment have led to routine spirometry testing outside of formal pulmonary function laboratories. Practitioners ordering these tests are not formally trained in spirometry interpretation. Providing effective off-site training can be challenging. Our objective was to develop a remotely accessible computer-based tutorial for teaching spirometry interpretation to nonpulmonologists. We designed an educational module that was accessible via the Internet and tested by 65 medical trainees at a major university medical center. In addition, the module was posted within the Virtual Hospital on the World Wide Web. Increases in spirometry interpretative skills were assessed using pre- and post-tests submitted electronically. The spirometry module significantly improved spirometry interpretation by nonspecialist trainees. This improvement included a broad increase in knowledge base and was observed independent of training level and prior spirometry reading experience. We conclude that computer-based tutorials can effectively train off-site practitioners in spirometry interpretation. This technology allows for the dissemination of educational material from a central site of expertise and provides a valuable adjunct to limited teaching resources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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