ECHO exploits new media to develop learning methods which are best suited to health communication. This discipline is nowadays recognised as a fundamental element for the training of health operators generally: thus there is an urgent need of integrating it in curricula for medicine students, as well as to provide continuing education to health professionals.
ECHO is structured in 9 modules of 10 hours each playing around a combination of face-to face lectures (20% of total student work), autonomous work at home (40%) and group work (in class, laboratory and online, 40%). The modules' topics include theories and methods for the analysis and design applications of health communication at the personal and media levels, and by utilizing traditional and new technological communication channels. Each module will include an introductory lecture, analysis of case-studies, self-study session, interactions with leading figures of the field and group work.
ECHO fits perfectly the needs of this audience: its blended learning approach, reducing strongly the number of class hours, suits the needs of both the medicine students (having a large number of class hours, as well as practical stages) and of the professionals in the field. Moreover, ECHO exploits communication tools for distance group work on projects and provides a set of useful on-line materials. Finally, ECHO will promote the education of health professionals on the use of digital technologies in the health sector.
ECHO will be tested at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Lugano , at the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine/Internal Medicine of Basel UNISPITAL, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) of the University of Lausanne and at the Scuola superiore per le formazioni sanitarie of Stabio, for a total of approx. 620 students per year. The project has wide possibility of diffusion in other markets including other Swiss universities with curricula in medicine, public health, health economics and communication generally; medical organizations that are part of the FMH for use in continuing education; professional schools of nursing; courses in continuing education for health operators run by hospital agencies; health institutions and organizations for use for internal professional training.