Future of Health: Distance Learning

Future of Health: Distance Learning

The development of faster mobile networks and improved device technology is enabling access to the web’s entire library of video tutorials and how-tos on handheld devices and can lead to the creation of virtual classrooms that can happen anywhere.

Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 2 august 2010

foh banners-distance learning

This post is part of a PSFK Consulting project aimed at providing insight into the Future of Health. Distance Learning is one trend of fifteen that appears in our exploration of  how technology and access to information play a vital role in the ways that people will understand, manage and receive care whether that’s at home, in hospitals and clinics or in doctor’s offices.


The development of faster mobile networks and improved device technology is allowing for an unprecedented level of quality content to be streamed to and viewed on consumer handheld devices. This is enabling access to the web’s entire library of video tutorials and how-tos and can lead to the creation of virtual classrooms that can happen anywhere. This will evolve to include live person-to-person video chats on mobile phones, allowing for a level of real-time interactivity that will bring new opportunities to how and where people learn.


  • Anywhere, Anytime Classroom – Citizens can learn proper care techniques in home, rather than travel outside, for up-to-date medical information
  • Reusable Learnings – Multiple people can receive training and learning from one information source.
  • Remote Guidance – Treatment can be augmented with guidance from highly trained medical professionals in emergency situations.
  • Improved Training – Training can be made faster, cheaper and more efficient by using virtual classrooms to teach courses remotely.

Supporting Examples for Distance Learning

Mobile Video Assists Home Visits

Mobile Video Assists Home Visits
Two projects are leveraging the power of mobile video to supplement work in the homes of developing countries. First Days is a project by the Berkeley Institute of Design that gives healthcare workers in India short videos related to maternal health to show to their clients and help guide consultation. In Tanzania, healthcare volunteers are being aided with mobile video tutorials during home visits by a collaboration of D-Tree International and BRAC Tanzania.

Distance Learning 02

Connecting Distance Hospitals To Improve Treatment
In late 2009, hospitals in Sierra Leone launched a satellite link-up to connect doctors in the country to doctors in India where there is better equipment for data analysis. this facilitates real-time consultations between doctors in the field and specialists in hospitals.

Distance Learning 03

Mobile App Helps Doctors Explain Conditions
The Blausen Human Atlas is an app for the iPhone and iPad that contains a library of 150 interactive 3D animations, 1200 images and over 1,500 medical terms to help explain human anatomy, common medical conditions and treatments. the app was designed to improve communication between doctors and patients by providing a visual method for understanding complicated diagnoses and procedures. Human Atlas can also be a useful tool which can be shown to patients to help explain conditions out in the field.

Distance Learning 04

Web Video Tutorials
Altus Learning Systems recently launched vSearch Mobile, a cloud-based service that allows users to search and access audio and video content from internet connected devices including the ipad, iphone, BlackBerry and Android handsets. the service enables an organization to create a repository of searchable cloud-based content, delivering knowledge to large, geographically-dispersed audiences.

Distance Learning 05

Learn Anything Anytime On YouTube
The Khan Academy is a non-profit dedicated to the idea of democratizing education by making quality tools available to everyone in the world. To that end, the organization has created over 1400 videos accessible on YouTube that cover a breadth of topics from basic arithmetic and science to more complex subjects such as business finance and medicine. over 70,000 students visit the site every month and 35,000 videos are watched every day. Other organizations have also begun distributing copies of Khan’s videos on offline servers to rural areas in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Distance Learning 06

Virtual Self-Help Groups
PatientsLikeMe is a collective website that allows people with life-changing conditions to connect with one another. It provides a platform that helps people who have certain diseases to share their experiences and teach coping strategies to those who have been recently diagnosed. By taking away geographic boundaries, users can learn first hand about how to deal with sicknesses that those in their immediate vicinity might not have experience with.

About PSFK’s Future Of Health Report


PSFK’s Future of Health Report details 15 trends that will impact health and wellness around the world. Simple advances such as off-the-grid energy and the introduction of gaming into healthcare service offerings sit alongside more future-forward developments such as bio-medical printing. The report includes concepts for UNICEF based on the trends provided by the world’s leading advertising and design agencies. It is our hope that this report will inspire your thinking and lead to services, applications and technologies which will allow for more available, quality healthcare.


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Jessica Richman

Data, Citizen Science, Personalized Medicine

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed december 1, 2016

Communications Officer: What This Holiday Season Means For Millennial Shoppers

Dallas Lawrence of the Rubicon Project shares why holiday cheer is all about likes, views and retweets

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Retail december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

Fashion december 2, 2016

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work december 2, 2016

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing december 2, 2016

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Arts & Culture december 2, 2016

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment

Automotive december 2, 2016

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

No search results found.