What features can we expect to see in the MedEdQR application in the future? Case Metadata.
Last month we began exploring some of the potential features-updates that may find their way onto the MedEdQR platform development timeline. That list includes:
- Gamification / Goal setting
- Case metadata
- Template media type
- URL media type
- User metadata
- Competency / Entrustable Professional Activities
- Case Preview in Web-app
- Enhanced reporting
- Learner portal
This month I will discuss the inclusion of Case Metadata. Metadata is data [information] that provides information about other data. Three distinct types of metadata exist: descriptive metadata, structural metadata, and administrative metadata.
- Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords.
- Structural metadata is metadata about containers of data and indicates how compound objects are put together, for example, how pages are ordered to form chapters. It describes the types, versions, relationships and other characteristics of digital materials.
- Administrative metadata provides information to help manage a resource, such as when and how it was created, file type and other technical information, and who can access it.
Given the three types of metadata, it makes the most sense to concentrate on descriptive data [information] about the characteristics of the virtual patient and the case context since, given the application, the other two do not make much sense or are handled as part of deployment management in this application (e.g. Administrative).
Why bother with metadata anyway? There is a need to manage content coverage. The medical knowledge domain that learners and practitioners must traverse is wide and deep. It is important from a curricular standpoint to provide content within some form of engagement, in this case the vehicle is a virtual patient case, that introduces learners to, expands on and/or fills in the gaps of medical knowledge concepts, clinical skills reasoning and professional practice. When viewing the curriculum as a whole, including all learner / practitioner content engagements (e.g. lectures, webinars, consultations, clinical simulations), the curriculum must map the medical knowledge, clinical reasoning, professional practice, and experiential needs to the engagements. This mapping requires that the content and experiential coverage of each engagement be described and recorded. Once this “metadata” (the information about the virtual patient case) is available, it can be coalesced and coverage reports can be generated. Now curriculum developers can assess the coverage of their curriculum.
Another reason that curriculum coverage reports are important is program accreditation. This is fairly self-explanatory and needs no further elaboration.
Based on my experience with medical education, the most important metadata that needs to be collected falls into a number of categories. They are virtual patient demographic data, additional patient specific characteristics, and data that describes the case using standardized diagnostic codes, competency codes, and/or medical content coverage codes. Demographic data includes such items as gender, age, race, and ethnicity. Additional characteristics might include sexual orientation, relationship status, disabilities, language proficiency, religion, and occupation to name a few. To round out the data one could expect to capture standardized diagnostic codes, or USMLE/First Aid/MeSH knowledge cover codes. Since competency is related to the learner/practitioner’s ability to react to the virtual patients scenario, I expect to see this implemented, not as a part of the case’s general metadata, but as another platform subsystem. The possibility of including a competency assessment feature will be discussed in the future.
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John Morris: CEO