1,300 newly graduated healthcare professionals in Manchester trained on PKB

Published 27 April 2023

The background to building on success

Since September 2021, as part of Patient Know Best’s Education Programme, PKB have been partnered with the University of Manchester Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.   The largest medical school in the UK, with over 2,200 undergraduate medical students.

At the beginning of the collaboration an article announcing the project, entitled “Manchester University and PKB team up to teach students about digital health”, outlined the University's intention to provide the students with simulated patients to plan the management of their care through PKB’s digital record platform. 

As the mission of our Education Programme is to support educators in training students on the tools of digital health, we are proud to have been used over the last 18 months by a total of 1,300 students - 500 of their year 5 medical students and 150 pharmacy students each year. These students, once graduated, will be already familiar with Personal Health Records, which will allow them to become digital transformation leaders equipped with an understanding of the healthcare practices of the future.

Up until now, PKB have worked mainly alongside  the medical school, with students utilising the platform interprofessionally both from medicine and pharmacy courses. In addition to this, PKB will soon be used by the nursing students at the same university. 

These and other students using PKB across the country will become key drivers and instigators of the NHS digital transformation programmes that are currently being implemented.

This case study provides more information about the work that has been done, and benefits achieved in the first 18 months since the beginning of the collaboration. 

The challenges

Before the covid-19 pandemic, Year 5 medical students used to have in-person interprofessional sessions with final year pharmacy students. The students were divided into groups, and each group was given paper folders including patient’s notes, showing bloods and details of the patient’s admission. Students were then asked to create a care plan for each patient and prioritise their work. 

When covid-19 hit and teaching was moved online, the team at the university didn’t have a way to replicate the interactivity of this session, so they found no other option than to cancel it for one academic year. 

Once the University found out about PKB’s Education Programme, they immediately saw how the tool could have been embedded in their teaching, both to reproduce those “problem based learning” interactive sessions in an online environment, as well as to pursue new learning outcomes. 

The solution

As part of the effort to bring their interactive interprofessional session back to life, the team at the university worked with PKB to replicate all the notes they had, in a digital format within the PKB platform. 

The two case study records created showed data such as admission letters, blood test results, chest X-rays, ECG scans, a detailed medication list and history of present conditions.

Medication section of one of the case study patients’ record - Tablet and mobile phone vie

Medication section of one of the case study patients’ record - Tablet and mobile phone view

As with the in-person sessions, the students (500 medical students plus 150 pharmacy students) were divided into small groups of 6.  

Having access as professionals to the University Training Environment within PKB, the students were able to look at the test patients’ records both during a Zoom session with their tutors, and in their own time. 

Students really liked being able to navigate through the record. PKB is a very intuitive platform, so it has been really easy for them to get used to it.  The students loved this autonomy and the interactivity that it brings.

Jodie Tyrrell- Senior Lecturer at Manchester Medical School

While on the Zoom session, all of the students log in to the platform with their own devices, and one of them shares their screen and acts as a scribe on behalf of the group. The lecturers reported that a particularly positive aspect of this, is that the session is student-led: the tutor is only there to prompt them if they are going in the wrong direction and to ask them questions. 

The students discuss which data to review first, for example blood results, and the tutor asks them to interpret what they see. Then the students look at the medication section of the record and think about if any medications need to be stopped, and whether others need to be started. 

The last task of the session is creating and updating  a  care plan for the patients within PKB, that had been designed  by the lecturers at the University. Students are then free to login to the platform in their own time to review the case and add new data to the patient’s record if they wish. 

Medication section of one of the case study patients’ record - Tablet and mobile phone vie

Imaging section of one of the case study patients’ record - Tablet view

The results

The team at Manchester University was really positive about the results of the introduction of PKB into their teaching, and used the platform for 2 academic years (2021-22 and 2022-23), for a total of 1000 medical students and 300 pharmacy students. 

The main learning results reflected on were:

  • Real world personal health records (PHRs) are not as neat as the case study patients record that the lecturers created in PKB.  However, using the platform, students get a gentle introduction to PHRs and start to familiarise themselves with them. This will, in turn, enable students to be more confident navigating more complex records in the future. 
  • The students also start to understand that there’s a lot of information within a PHR, and not all of it is relevant in every situation. With PKB, they learn to focus on the data they really need, without getting distracted by the less pertinent ones.
  • By reviewing cases on PKB, students learn how to prioritise their workload, i.e. understanding which patient is more urgent and needs to be treated first.
  • Dealing with simulated patients is a way for students to practise their patient management skills in a very safe environment, where their potential mistakes have no consequences on real patients.

What's next?

Following the success of the last two academic years, the University of Manchester decided to increase the utilisation of PKB in a number of ways.

The nursing school is in the process of creating case study patients to be uploaded on PKB and to be used in the near future with MSc Adult Nursing students. 

At the same time, the medical school is already planning their next use of PKB for the academic year 2023-24. From September, the sessions will go back to being held in class, as they were before the covid pandemic. The teaching team, however, won’t go back to the old methodology with paper case studies: the plan is to keep using PKB, even more than before. As specifically requested by the students themselves, who are willing to spend more time using the platform and plan the management of the patients, the number of case studies to review will be increased from 2 to 3, and the sessions will be longer. 

We are glad to be supporting so many students in Manchester graduating with an understanding of digital health tools, and in particular personal health records. Ensuring professionals of the future are ready to work in a 'joined up' digitised healthcare system is key  for patient care, which is our ultimate mission

Federica, Lead for Education at Patients Know Best

Learn more about how we support Education institutions here.

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