Innovative education program for end-of-life care now ...
NEWS | January 18, 2012

Innovative education program for end-of-life care now online

New website offers valuable lessons for health-care professionals


A comprehensive, web-based learning tool that features a series of interactive video vignettes to help health-care professionals better understand end-of-life care and prepare them for difficult conversations with patients and families is now available online. The program, called "eDoctoring," is available at

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With funding from the National Cancer Institute to create a high-quality, multidisciplinary curriculum on end-of-life care, a consortium of University of California faculty, in collaboration with San Diego Hospice experts, developed the website. It represents the first standardized educational training for medical professionals to be developed and implemented by all five UC campuses, and it has been tested by more than 2,000 students and physicians.

The program offers engaging patient scenarios, informative tutorials and practical learning materials that address the challenges of providing appropriate and compassionate care at the end of life. Topics include pain management, improving communication with patients and family members, and ethical issues. 

Michael Wilkes, the UC Davis professor of internal medicine and medical education expert who leads the project, said the new online program focuses on enabling caregivers to shift from disease-directed therapy, or therapy with curative intent, to being able to provide patients with relief from physical, emotional, social and spiritual suffering.

"Addressing the medical and psychological needs of dying patients and respecting their values, preferences for care, advance directives and need for information are critical in helping them die with dignity, minimal discomfort and maximum social support," said Wilkes. "During end-of-life care, we want to ensure that physicians, nurses and other health professionals know how to improve quality of life and functional status for individuals when length of life can no longer be extended."

The online training curriculum is available at no cost. It includes a series of 16 broadcast-quality videos that illustrate core concepts in patient-physician interactions and end-of-life care. The website offers educational tools to reinforce learning and promote self reflection and interactivity. The curriculum is integrated with a special online portfolio system, which enables participants to track their progress and create a plan of study. The tool also provides a format for discussion groups, blogging and connections between learners in different locations.  

"The tool offers the very latest in interactive online education that is patient-focused, evidence- based and fun," said Wilkes. "This new online curriculum is called 'eDoctoring' because it takes clinician training and education to the next level by effectively merging the concepts of adult learning theory, best practices in care and online technology. It is based on our award-winning 'Doctoring' classes that students now take each year in the schools of medicine at UC Davis and UCLA."

eDoctoring features include:

  • Innovative and highly interactive
  • Accessible and convenient
  • All content and pre-set courses available at no cost
  • Meets mandated requirement for training
  • Focused on clinical practice and improving communication skills
  • Drives toward systems-based practice
  • Allows faculty the option of creating customized courses
  • Continuing medical education of up to 12 credits (available through the University of California, San Francisco)

For more information about eDoctoring or to register online, visit To schedule a brief demonstration session or obtain additional information about the program, contact Polly Latow at 530-754-7337 or

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 631-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit