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Can massive open online courses change health care?

Much has been written about massive open online courses (known as MOOCs), which the New York Times last year called "a tool for democratizing higher education." On Health Care Communication News today, writer Leigh Householder discusses how MOOCs can empower patients and affect health care:

MOOCs are relevant right now because we’re moving toward a more competency-based world. You can get information anywhere. The world only cares about what you do with that information. Your degree means a lot less than your big ideas.

That sounds a lot like health care, doesn’t it? You can get the information anywhere. What matters is what you do with it. How willing you are to understand it deeply, use it to change your life for the better, and protect yourself against other challenges that could happen along the way.

The MOOC model could extend the good work of WebMD and the Mayo Clinic into deep, video-driven, interactive learning for people who suddenly need to become experts on anything from fighting an acute disease to managing a chronic one. The classes completed could even earn badges of achievement discounts with insurance, or access to different types of whole-health specialists.

Previously: Stanford offers free “Statistics in Medicine” course, starting June 11 and Free Stanford online course on child nutrition & cooking

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