Dr Ian Ellul

Change does not necessarily translate in improvement. But there can be no improvement without change. It is very apt to pen this on this page during this month since we need to celebrate two anniversaries. The first is the 25th anniversary of The Synapse. This was closely followed by the launch of this magazine in 2001 … two decades ago. I joined as editor of the magazine in 2005; what a journey it has been! I still remember the 6 pager in black and white printed back then.

Why am I mentioning all this? I confess that I am very much inclined to walk memory lanes. Alone. I seem to seek solace in the warmth of the sun on my face at St Francis School in Msida when I was young or later on, at the Archbishop’s Seminary secondary school; in the strong embrace of my loved ones when I was older; and so many other seemingly small things which still make all the difference to a bruised soul … self-anointed to heal through my life events.

I am mentioning this since nursing one’s abrasions and lacerations, although important, is only the first step to good health. One needs to recognise the challenges, understand one’s weakness and act proactively. The Synapse was created through such SWOT analysis to precisely overcome the challenges faced by doctors back then, in 1996. These are the same challenges still present today but to a different degree. These relate primarily to lack of timely communication, or miscommunication, between different stakeholders within the medical profession. The Synapse was a game changer through its networking service; in parallel, it seeded camaraderie. Logically, along the years it needed to adapt and develop a different skill-set to embrace other technologies to support this philosophy. I am specifically referring to CME30.eu.

CME30.eu needs no introduction. In the organisation of medical education, CME30.eu delivers the best speakers, addresses the key topics and attracts the right audience. Indeed, this year we have launched numerous CME sessions with audiences at times even reaching 650 participants. To commemorate the 100 years of the discovery of insulin, CME30.eu liaised with the Diabetes Department of Mater Dei Hospital, Faculty of Medicine & Surgery at the University of Malta as well as the Malta Association of Physicians to develop an international masterclass in Diabetes Management. This online masterclass, accredited by MAM and MCFD, is free of charge. It is currently being launched.

At this stage I wish to comment on the evolution of our eLearning modules. CME30.eu was fortuitously launched a couple of weeks before the pandemic started. I consider CME30.eu as a seminal online platform which has been specifically developed as an eLearning repository for medical doctors, as well as other healthcare professionals. Nonetheless, CME30.eu traces its origin to 2012 when The Synapse launched a series of eLearning modules in collaboration with the Malta Foundation Programme.

Our raison d’etre has always been to provide high quality online medical education for doctors, including CME sessions. We have always believed that eLearning is key for the busy healthcare professional since it eliminates commuting and is thus more effective to deliver the module. It also drastically reduces the logistics and associated costs of organising a CME in some room in a hotel. Obviously, our trailblazing meant a heavy investment from our end in IT infrastructure, training, as well as a modern studio to deliver the online eLearning modules. But who would have imagined that a few weeks after its launch, the paradigm shift created by COVID-19 would have catapulted CME30.eu to the forefront of online medical education in Malta?

We look forward to meeting you during in the free online international diabetes masterclass. The future is here for all to embrace. Will you join?