● The Rationale
● Development and objectives
The great strides made in digital innovation - which the COVID 19 lockdown boosted even further – has given training and learning an even broader multimedia dimension. Today, virtual platforms are essential channels delivering direct-streaming or asynchronous e-learning tools to an increasingly wide audience.
The Melanoma Multimedia Education (MelaMEd) project was developed by the Italian Melanoma Intergroup (IMI) to cater for this setting. MelaMEd aims to provide physicians, mainly general practitioners, with a comprehensive understanding of the primary and secondary prevention of cutaneous melanoma and a broad overview of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Uniquely structured, this innovative project creates a network between dermatologists, the multidisciplinary melanoma teams and the far-reaching community of primary-care health professionals, in particular general practitioners.
By taking on this new challenge, IMI has once again shown its innovative spirit, determination and spreading multimedia communication. The current English edition has opened the dissemination of the MelaMed project amongst healthcare workers worldwide, sharing with every scientific and patient organization the challenge against melanoma.
Skin cancer primary prevention, suspicious lesion detection, and identification of patients at risk for melanoma are the baseline strategies recommended by Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, as well as key recommendations of the guidelines accredited by the Italian National Health Authority and by other European and international organizations.
The common strategy recognizes the important role of physicians, in particular General Practitioners (GPs) and General Paediatricians, in referring patients to their relevant Dermatology Centre. To ensure this essential interaction with specialists, GPs and community practitioners must have a good grounding in the whole diagnostic and therapeutic approach to skin cancer.
The history of the MelaMed project goes back a long way. Thanks to the fundamental support of the Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo and the collaboration of Claudio Clemente and Martin Mihm Jr. (both co-chairmen of the Pathology Panel of the WHO Melanoma Programme), we developed our first CD-Rom, entitled "Cutaneous Melanoma", in the late 1990s, when digital images became widely available. Published in 2001, with the backing of the WHO Melanoma Programme (chaired by Natale Cascinelli), the CD-ROM was the first interactive atlas on the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of melanoma and pigmented skin lesions.
Afterwards, the CD-ROM included two suitably adapted training courses, granted by Ignazio Stanganelli and the Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo: the first one was addressed to trainers of the Italian Society of General Medicine and Primary Care (S.I.M.G.), other than being used by the Emilia-Romagna Region as an experimental project. The second one was aimed at general practitioners working in the Milan area.
Nowadays, as the CD-Rom is considered an obsolete tool, the wealth of images contained in it has been made available in the library section of IMI WEB platform. The platform has been greatly enhanced and now has a broad offering of multimedia and interactive programmes, including morphing functions. Our website is constantly updated to include all the most recent diagnostic and treatment recommendations.
DEVELOPMENT AND OBJECTIVES
Developed by IMI, the MelaMEd project is a nationwide and international programme to train physicians in the prevention of cutaneous melanoma, providing a clear understanding of the essential features regarding patient diagnosis and treatment.
The project is aimed in particular at general practitioners (GPs), health professionals belonging to multidisciplinary melanoma teams, and primary care professions involved in the management of patients with skin tumours, in particular melanoma.
The MelaMed project is original and multidimensional. It is hosted on a dedicated platform whose educational area offers asynchronous distance learning training courses, accrediting CME points.
The programme is a real revolution in the panorama of multimedia medical training, offering interaction and integration function between the asynchronous e-learning format and the site vast virtual library.
● Multimedia platform
The IMI platform is a vast virtual library, a multimedia atlas, quick to access and easy to consult. Divided into the fundamental chapters encompassing the iconographic documentation of the clinical, dermoscopic and histological aspects of melanocytic pathology, the site is geared to raising awareness of the importance of identifying melanoma at an early stage.
The IMI platform also details diagnostic and treatment procedures according to the latest guidelines accredited by the Italian National Health Authority and by other European and international organizations.
Dépliant scaricabile con le relative indicazioni dei riferimenti dei centri IMI a cui possono fare riferimento i medici, ed in particolare i medici di medicina generale, e tutti gli operatori sanitari del territorio di riferimento.
● Educational area
At present, the educational area includes an Italian asynchronous e-learning programme, earning CME credits; it is available in ‘switching’ mode with the IMI multimedia platform, thus allowing the user to deepen any aspect of the course material through this interactive function.
Currently scheduled from January 9 to December 31, 2023, on the behalf of the National Federation of Surgeons and Dentists (FNOMCeO), the asynchronous distance learning programme is entirely delivered free of charge.