Harmonizing and improving European education in prescribing: An overview of digital educational resources used in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics

Michiel J. Bakkum*, Jelle Tichelaar, for the Education Working Group of the European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (EACPT) and its affiliated Network of Teachers in Pharmacotherapy (NOTIP), Paraskevi Papaioannidou, Robert Likic, Emilio J. Sanz Alvarez, Thierry Christiaens, João N. Costa, Romaldas Mačiulaitis, Lorena Dima, Jamie Coleman, Milan C. Richir, Michiel A. van Agtmael

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Improvement and harmonization of European clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (CPT) education is urgently required. Because digital educational resources can be easily shared, adapted to local situations and re-used widely across a variety of educational systems, they may be ideally suited for this purpose. 


With a cross-sectional survey among principal CPT teachers in 279 out of 304 European medical schools, an overview and classification of digital resources was compiled. 


Teachers from 95 (34%) medical schools in 26 of 28 EU countries responded, 66 (70%) of whom used digital educational resources in their CPT curriculum. A total of 89 of such resources were described in detail, including e-learning (24%), simulators to teach pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics (10%), virtual patients (8%), and serious games (5%). Together, these resources covered 235 knowledge-based learning objectives, 88 skills, and 13 attitudes. Only one third (27) of the resources were in-part or totally free and only two were licensed open educational resources (free to use, distribute and adapt). A narrative overview of the largest, free and most novel resources is given. 


Digital educational resources, ranging from e-learning to virtual patients and games, are widely used for CPT education in EU medical schools. Learning objectives are based largely on knowledge rather than skills or attitudes. This may be improved by including more real-life clinical case scenarios. Moreover, the majority of resources are neither free nor open. Therefore, with a view to harmonizing international CPT education, more needs to be learned about why CPT teachers are not currently sharing their educational materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1011
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society


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