Written by epgonline.org - Last updated 26 August 2016
What is a Learning Zone?
An epgonline.org Learning Zone (LZ) is an area of the site dedicated to providing detailed self-directed medical education about a disease, condition or procedure. There are many types of epgonline.org Learning Zone; they vary depending upon funding source, style, content types and features. However, all are reviewed by professional editors, qualified medical experts or medical writers, and dedicated to providing useful and detailed information for doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Explanation of funding
epgonline.org is free for our healthcare professional audience to use, and always will be. This is achieved by inviting commercial organisations such as pharmaceutical companies to fund areas of the website for educational purposes. In some cases this is considered sponsorship, where the company provides materials, reviews the content, and passes it through their internal review and approval processes; in others, funding is provided as an educational grant, and the company has no control or input into the content beyond agreeing the general topic of discussion.
Under no circumstances is individual user data provided to our commercial partners; we do share aggregated data such as average time spent viewing pages, analysis of ‘click-through’ rates, number of completions of CME activities, and so on, in order to measure and improve the reach of our materials.
Our research shows that doctors and other healthcare professionals are not opposed to industry funding for educational materials, as long as this funding is transparently declared. For each Learning Zone we describe the input of any commercial organisation that has provided funding, and invite you to appraise the information provided based on this knowledge. The different funding approaches are described in more detail below.
The funding company provides materials (e.g. slide presentations, videos, content from scientific meetings, etc.) and has input into the structure of the Learning Zone (LZ). They also review the draft content and pass it through their internal legal/medical review process.
Learning Zone (LZ) content is developed independently, for example by a medical writer, based on a basic structure written by the EPG Health Media team and agreed with the funding company. Depending on the agreement, the company may wish to review some or all of the content for concordance with regulatory requirements.
Some Learning Zones are developed by EPG Health Media without funding from an external partner, where we feel this helps to give context to other educational materials or to benefit our users.
Continuing medical education (CME), also called continuing professional development (CPD), is a vital tool for healthcare professionals to stay up to date after qualifying. We develop CME modules on specific topics, with funding provided by our commercial partners. By definition there can be no involvement of the funding provider in the development, review or approval of the content, and wherever possible we submit the modules to an independent organisation, such as the European Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) or Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), for accreditation.
Some of our Learning Zones are developed in collaboration with independent medical experts with an in-depth working knowledge of the field. These experts are contracted on a consultancy basis to review and provide feedback on the content in order to ensure accuracy and clinical relevance. We ask all experts to provide a disclosure statement to avoid potential conflicts of interest.