Pharmacy students experience digital patient care

Steph TewCase Study

Undergraduate Pharmacy students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), have been given the opportunity to experience the future digital patient care, using Patients Know Best (PKB) – the world’s first fully patient-controlled online personal health record.

Liverpool John Moores University is an ambitious and forward-thinking institution that challenges convention. This addition to the curriculum within the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences reinforces their vision; to be recognised as a modern civic university delivering solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.

Simulated learning

Bob Morris, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy, at Liverpool John Moores University, has incorporated this work into the undergraduate curriculum which has involved students using the Patients Know Best platform to facilitate simulated interactions between patients and pharmacists.   This has involved training the students to use Patients Know Best to enable their use of the platform to interact and collaborate with each other.

Following the first wave of students trying out this innovative approach to Pharmacy education, Bob said: “Our students will be working in new ways when they graduate so we wanted to provide them with experience of digital healthcare. Patients Know Best proved a suitable platform to not only gain experience but, also to develop new skills in communication. We plan to expand our use of the platform so our graduates can contribute more fully to patient health.”

Real-life experience

Year 1 Pharmacy School students took on the simulated role of the patient and focussed on communicating with Year 3 students who in turn, simulated the role of the Pharmacists. Year 2 students also worked with Year 4 students in this way. 

Embedding the teaching of digital communication skills and encouraging the practice of co-production and self-management with patients, are core learning outcomes for pharmacy students at LJMU. The use of the PKB platform provided a rich experience for the students to develop their skill set to enable their practice in the real-world digital age.   

Students are encouraged to consider the role of a patient-controlled health record as both a platform to communicate with patients, but also an integral source of patient-reported data and outcomes that can contribute to medication management and holistic patient health care.

The ‘Patients’ used the messaging facility in PKB to securely communicate with their ‘Pharmacists’ about their medication and to get help and advice. The ‘Pharmacists’ were able to view more health information about the patient enabling them to provide a more detailed and accurate response. It also allowed them to view other medications the patient was taking and consider side effects and notice anomalies from access to patient-reported data.

Dr Sarah Wright, Programme Manager for Wales and Lead for Education, Patients Know Best, added: “We’re really pleased to be working with Liverpool John Moores University, and other medical schools across the UK, to enable students to gain real-world experience of health technology and the features and benefits of a patient-health record. By including this in their curriculum, they are helping our next generation of pharmacists start their careers in healthcare.”

Learning outcomes

Feedback from students has been positive and has highlighted a number of core learning outcomes: 

Two-way conversations

“The patient was able to ask questions in the comfort of their own home and be notified when a response has come through so that it wasn’t necessary to wait by the computer for a reply. It also enables the patient to pose questions at a later date if they hadn’t thought of them already.”

Clinical safety

“It helped the patient to understand what condition/ symptoms the medication they had been prescribed was used to treat. It also helped the patient learn what side effects they may experience and how common they were, so that they wouldn’t panic experiencing the more common ones.”

Time-saving

“The patient was able to ask any questions they were worried about, and do this in their own time and from their mobile phone. They didn’t need to travel to a pharmacy to get answers to their questions so this was very convenient. Also, if the patient was to forget any information such as the dosage, they were able to confirm this too.”

Increased privacy

“Because it’s online, it helped with anonymity in a way and would mean the patient was able to ask questions they may otherwise omit.”

Educating Pharmacists

“Helped me as the patient to understand how as a pharmacist, I can recognise key signs and symptoms. This will aid me in my OSCE’s as it will allow me to know what sort of things to say and ask the patient when acting as a pharmacist in a similar scenario”

Educating Patients 

“Made me realise that patients don’t always know about their medication and therefore, more advice needs to be given where appropriate.”

Use Patients Know Best with your students

The Patients Know Best platform is offered free-of-charge to medical schools as part of our corporate social responsibility programme. We’re committed to the investment of the next generation of healthcare professionals, to equip them with the skills and knowledge required, for world-class patient management and remote care.