Which is better: online learning or face to face?

This is an extract of an article from Linda Blair, clinical psychologist that first appeared in the Daily Telegraph in August 2020

medicologic - client feedback

We’re hearing a lot about online learning currently and its recent prominence has highlighted some of its many advantages. Online learning has been used as an educational tool for decades. When information is presented online, it becomes accessible to those who might have found it difficult to attend classes in person. On the other hand, face to face learning also offers a number of advantages. Collaboration – sharing discoveries and debating questions – is easier, and students are more likely to establish interpersonal relationships. Teachers can also tell more quickly whether students are engaged with the material. Both approaches when presented well appear to be equally effective

In a review of 19 studies, Queens University Belfast found online teaching of clinical skills to nursing students was no less effective than traditional face to face approaches.

One of the most important factors in learning is motivation: whether delegates want to engage with the material . The National University in San Diego and the University of Massachusetts asked more than 4,000 students what they wanted from their course of study. Their top priority, whatever the mode delivery, include relevant and engaging course material, teachers who are able to connect with and motivate students, and a mixture of approaches when delivering course material; especially methods that encourage student- instructor interaction

Whatever the mode of delivery, students want enthusiastic teachers who present interesting material and prioritise student engagement

The full article can be read here

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/better-online-learning-face-face/

Online Medical Terminology Training

COVID-19 has proved a catalyst for online training. E-learning has been around for several years now, often through impersonal computer based training packages offering online self-paced courses. With the onset of COVID-19, distance learnings has recently taken on a completely new dimension. Given the current social distancing requirements, and the fact that significant percentage of learners prefers virtual classrooms, real-time workshops are effectivity being used to deliver online medical terminology training.

A viable alternative to on site delivery

The current range of technology and platform choices has made it easier for organisations to access online medical terminology training remotely without a huge investment in technology. Zoom is one of several solutions that can be used on laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, and even desk phones, giving delegates several ways to access the training workshops. If there are bandwidth limitations, Zoom will modify its transmission to ensure that delegates are able to have as smooth a training session as possible. Where other applications will begin to act sluggishly and take seconds to load a single frame, Zoom does everything in its power to ensure that delegates do not experience any delay in presentation. Simply because the next slide won’t load on participants’ screens, even if it has to resort to cutting down slightly on the resolution.

Zoom workshops provide trainer / delegate interaction as viable alternative to on site delivery. These are shorter and more digestible real time classes with the same live trainer that would normally deliver on site.

Delegates and trainers interacting in real-time

For organisations like Medicologic it has been easy to immediately integrate ready-made, high-quality courses into Zoom online medical terminology training packages which that can still be delivered in house. Delivery in person through Zoom allows an easy switch between web cam and screen-share content. With delegates and trainers interacting in real-time, the sense of presence is enhanced when everyone shows their face via their web cam. Simply, it is easier to engage with the group if trainers can see the group, notice non-verbal cues and gauge the level of engagement in real time.  Trainers can then make adjustments to the way, and the pace at which, they deliver the workshop in order to make sure they are getting through to everyone. Indeed delegates themselves are more likely to pay attention if they know they’re on camera.

For online medical terminology training, delegates are still provided workbooks and manuals, and simply join the course from a location that suits them.

These trainer led real-time virtual workshops are the closest equivalent of physical training room in the digital world, but without the need to travel or book rooms. What started as a short-term response to a crisis, this shift to remote training will likely become an enduring digital transformation for the whole of the training industry

COVID-19 and Digitalising Medical Records

Twenty years ago the NHS began the process to take paper records and create digital summaries. Collating relevant data and standardising it is a complicated task, but when done properly, the current COVID-19 pandemic has provided a great example of just how invaluable digitalising medical records really is. We have seen a stream of reports published on the impact of COVID-19. This has helped policymakers better understand the demographics of those that have been affected. The primary care digitalising of medical records has given the country a database of patient records including such categories as  age groups and pre-existing conditions. From this analysis can work out which patients are most at risk, where to focus containment efforts, where the healthcare system will face strain, and which interventions can best mitigate the crisis.

Trained and experienced primary care staff have been central to the summarising and digitalising of medical records. In order to make better predictions on the spread and impact of Covid-19, more data from reliable sources is needed. Patients’ medical records are just one example of where life-saving information has been used to and gather valuable insights, which in turn

One strategy for reopening the economy before a vaccine is developed could involve monitoring the contacts of newly infected people, and knowing the individuals who are most at risk would make this a powerful and effective strategy. The more complete the data, the more effective this solution could be.

However there are still plenty of notes still sitting in practice cupboards, so this rich source of data still has some way to go before its exhausted. The primary care task now is to make the time to make it a key objective to finish the task, so that patients across all GP practices are given the benefit of having their risk profile considered as part of a risk management strategy in managing social distancing and for the greater public good.

While diseases can spread fast, verified data and knowledge can spread even faster, and that is where the focus needs to be. The importance of having a logical approach to summarising medical records and getting this data in the hands of analysts has never been stronger.

Woman given erectile dysfunction cream for dry eye in prescription mix-up

basic understanding of medical terminology and medicines

The importance of a basic understanding of medical terminology and medicines is as important as it ever was, and has been highlighted recently by this example of two medications with similar spellings – but for completely different complaints

A patient, had to be treated in hospital after she was given the wrong medication due to a mix-up.On attending the emergency department of a Glasgow hospital, the patient was found to have conjunctivitis and a defect on her cornea. However, the erectile dysfunction cream that was dispensed to her had a similar name, Vitaros, to the eye lubricant she was actually prescribed – VitA-POS. The patient suffered with blurred vision, a swollen eyelid and redness and discomfort immediately after putting the erectile dysfunction cream into her eye.

Experts have said GPs must use block capitals when writing prescriptions after a woman was mistakenly given erectile dysfunction cream for a dry eye

Eye doctors from Glasgow’s Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, who treated the woman, have now written an article on the case in BMJ Case Reports, the medical journal

“It is unusual in this case that no individual, including the patient, general practitioner or dispensing pharmacist, questioned erectile dysfunction cream being dispensed to a female patient with ocular application instructions.

“We would like to raise awareness that medications with similar spellings exist,” the report said.

Importantly, doctors noted that one in 20 prescriptions were estimated to be affected by a prescribing error.

The original report can be read here

Training non-clinical staff in Primary Care

non-clinical staff in primary careOver the last 16 years I have delivered face to face training to non-clinical staff in primary care. In light of easy access to technology and information on the internet, what are the training needs today for non-medically trained professionals working in close contact with the medical profession?

What’s required of the role?

The class of 2016 are involved extracting and imputing key medical data from medical notes. Often referred to as note summarising, they scan medical reports onto IT systems and link them to a problem title. Then once this has been done read codes are attached to each medical diagnosis, operation or problem. This process requires clarity and key medical knowledge; it is not enough to record a patient as having had a hysterectomy (uterus removed). There are at least 10 different codes or ways of having a hysterectomy, and it must be correctly coded.

The non-clinical team also update medical summaries as letters arrive from hospital departments. Staff are expected to work with other agencies and need background information to deal with patients, doctors and other multidisciplinary staff.

Read more…

Medical terminology transcription errors ‘putting patients’ lives at risk’

Transcription errorsMedical terminology transcription errors could be putting patients lives at risk, because of a growing number of cash-strapped hospitals sending medical notes abroad to save money, Unison warned today.

The union has compiled a dossier showing that 21 NHS trusts are piloting the outsourcing of confidential patient information to India and South Africa, which are then sent back to the UK and added to patients’ individual records.

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To Err is Human – the impact of poor medical terminology training

To Err is human

Breast cancer, vehicle crashes, AIDS and medical error. Which do you think causes the most deaths per year? It may surprise you to learn that it is medical error.

A report issued by the U.S. Institute of Medicine (To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System) concluded that up to 98,000 people die each year in the US as a result of preventable medical errors, including lack of medical terminology training. For comparison, fewer than 50,000 people died of Alzheimer’s disease and 17,000 died of illicit drug use in the same year.

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Medical terminology transcription errors

medical terminology

It is claimed that potentially life-threatening medical terminology transcription errors are creeping into medical letters that are being transcribed by secretaries in India

It is also possible that the use of computer spell checkers is leading to some words being replaced by unlikely ones. In one example, the drug “Lansoprazole”, used to treat stomach ulcers, was transcribed as the popular holiday resort “Lanzarote”.

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