With the growing medical possibilities, new questions arise. It is not only a matter of being able to treat, but also of considering the added value of treatment. In deciding the value of treatment, many factors have to be weighed, such as health benefit, quality of life effect and expenses. Medical guidelines can make an important contribution when making such treatment decisions. As such, they have a considerable influence on the quality and effectiveness of healthcare and allow the (future) healthcare professional to be as cost-conscious as possible. However, despite the importance of medical guidelines for cost-effective healthcare, they are rarely included in medical training programs. On a European level, training is dispersed in terms of content and geography. Additionally, the educational programs that are available have limited focus on competence development, whereas guideline development relies heavily on a broad range of competences. Because of those needed skills, teaching guideline development offers the opportunity for specialists to develop competences that they will need in their daily practice, also when they do not develop guidelines (CanMEDS).
In order to fill this educational gap, CoCoCare developed a state-of-the-art educational program for residents across Europe. The objective of the project is twofold:
- To teach residents to develop and implement high quality, evidence-based guidelines and,
- To equip them with the competences to be more cost conscious.
These objectives will be achieved by a highly integrated, international blended learning program that combines e-learning, plenary discussions and workshops, self-study and practical training from an innovative holistic approach.
First Pilot Course (2019-2020)
22 neurology residents from 16 European countries participated in the first pilot of the course that took place in 2019-2020. The course was subdivided into three components: e-learning to familiarize the participants with the main theoretical concepts of the guideline development process, face-to-face workshop, in which the participants got a more in-depth knowledge from the experienced trainers, and 6 months of training on the job assignments. At the end of the course, 4 participants presented the guidelines they developed as a result of the course at the EAN2020 congress. The participants have had positive experiences with the course and many were interested in continuing working on guideline development and implementation in their practice.
“This program was a unique opportunity to learn a whole range of contents related to what is known as «evidence-based medicine». We had the chance to learn from the best in a in-person workshop plus e-learning content which included videos and essential papers or exercises on each topic. I consider the program as an exceptional complement to my residency program and it not only allowed me to better understand and appraise the best available evidence, considering patient preferences and cost-effectiveness data, but also to experience developing my own guideline, which was an incredible experience. I would definitely recommend this program!” – Veronica Cabreira
“I strongly believe that the CoCoCare project is useful to all doctors who read and follow guidelines at their everyday practice and to everyone who would like to participate in creating new guidelines. I highly recommend it to all the EAN members with interest in this field.” – Christodoulos Taliadoros
“I’m very glad for having the opportunity to join the EAN CoCoCare Project this year. It has been a great chance to learn about the guidelines development process. The course was very well structured. After an interesting workshop in Oslo, we received an online “Training of the Job” for five months. The e-learning modules were excellent and they combined theoretical and practical exercises. At the end of the theoretical learning part, I started to work on the final project with a colleague. Working together with her was very interesting and it was a great opportunity to learn, to share experiences and ideas. During the entire course, the staff was always very helpful and ready to answer to our questions. The staff gave us always very important feedbacks to our work. The CoCoCare Training Project represents for me a very interesting and important experience for my personal and professional growth. I would like to thank EAN and all the staff who organized this course. I definitely suggest this training program to all the neurology residents who are interested to learn more about the guideline development process and would like to have an amazing experience of international collaboration.” – Isabella Colonna
Second Pilot Course (2020-2021) and COVID-19
Since the first pilot course was a very successful, the CoCoCare group intended to offer the same experience to the participants of the second pilot. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic the structure of the course had to be adapted. The main change concerns the face-to-face workshop that was planned to take place during the EAN 2020 congress in Paris. The face-to-face workshop will be replaced by four webinars that will be conducted between September and January 2021. The course will run from August 2020 till May 2021. The entire program will require approximately 328 study hours from the trainees (expected workload 3-4 days/ month). Registration is open until July 31st, 2020. There is room for 30 EAN Resident and Research Members from EAN member countries. The supervisors are invited to participate but it is not obligatory. Preparation by means of e-learning (2 days) is needed to follow the rest of the program. This is followed by training on the job assignments in combination with the aforementioned webinars. The training concludes with a presentation of (a selection of) the developed guidelines by the residents.
I Pokhilenko, MSc, CoCoCare dissemination manager
Care and Public Health Research Institute, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University
Academic Center of Epileptology Kempenhaeghe Maastricht UMC+
Prof HJM Majoie MHM, MD PhD, CoCoCare Course coordinator
Department of Neurology
Academic Center of Epileptology Kempenhaeghe Maastricht UMC+
School of Mental Health & Neuroscience, Maastricht University Medical Center
School of Health Professions Education, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University MajoieM@kempenhaeghe.nl