Virtual educational meetings and activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Egyptian oncologists’ experience

16 Aug 2021
Mohamed Alorabi, Ahmed Samir Abdelhafiz, Nermen Mostafa, Asmaa Ali, Hagar Elghazawy, Ahmed Mesbah, Abdul Rahman Jazieh

The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for most healthcare activities, including medical education and communication aspects. Virtual educational meetings and activities (VEMAs) have been utilised tremendously in the pandemic era, reflecting a transition to new horizons of cyberspace. This creates the need to explore possible challenges for the implementation of such services in the rapidly evolving field of oncology. The aim of our study is to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on VEMAs in the oncology community in Egypt. It focused on the evaluation of current attitudes, satisfaction and expectations of Egyptian oncologists during and beyond the COVID-19 era. The study is a cross-sectional study using a survey that was distributed through social media. It targeted Egyptian oncologists during the months of May and June 2020. A total of 118 participants completed the survey and most of them were younger than 35 years (71%). Most participants (93.2%) agreed that COVID-19 affected the stream of live medical educational meetings. About three-quarters of them attended VEMAs during the COVID-19 period compared to 50% prior to the pandemic. The majority reported that evening hours after 8 PM was the best time to attend VEMAs and 1 hour is the optimal duration for a virtual meeting. Although the COVID-19 pandemic appeared as an unprecedented challenge for medical education, it can be a catalyst for VEMAs, especially in a rapidly evolving field such as oncology. Further research is needed to assess whether learners are ready and willing to make greater use of online educational platforms and investigate the possible barriers and strategies to enhance their use.

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