Live clinical consultations in medical education

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

There is a serious and growing workforce crisis in the NHS therefore we need to train increasing numbers of doctors and healthcare professionals to maintain high quality patient care.

A core part of training this future workforce is the provision of clinical placements. A clinical placement is when a medical or healthcare student spends time in an environment that provides healthcare, this could be in a GP surgery, a hospital or a community clinic. With advances in healthcare patients are being cared for in different ways – spending shorter times in hospital and being cared for in the community. This is creating a capacity challenge for provision of clinical experiences for both care and education providers.

To maintain the training of our workforce we need to think about innovative ways to maximise the learning opportunities in clinical practice settings, whilst maintaining high quality patient care. One of the solutions could be to explore ways in which we can use novel xR technologies to advance preparation for clinical placement activity by enabling observation of clinical encounters. Focusing the vital time on clinical placement on direct patient contact.

We have developed a secure purpose-built platform for delivering live streamed clinical consultations to students for the purposes of education. By building on this work we would aim to rollout this tool across different clinical settings and in different geographical locations, increasing the range and number of clinical experiences students could encounter before and during their clinical placements. This could provide clinical experience free from geographical boundaries, bring efficiencies of scale and enable

personalisation based on the learners needs.

I am a Clinical Associate Professor working in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds focusing on undergraduate medical education. I am also a General Practitioner and Head of Student Education in Primary Care. In my role in the medical school I focus on technology enhanced learning.

During my time at the medical school I have led a number of technology enhanced learning projects. We were the first medical school in the UK to integrate teaching about clinical information systems into the curriculum and to formalise secure (smartcard) access to the clinical record for students. I also led a project exploring a personalised approach to medical education (myPAL) and during the COVID-19 pandemic I led a national team to develop an online library of authentic GP consultations for use in medical education: Virtual Primary Care.

As a Topol Digital Fellow I will build on the work we have done in the design phase of our Virtual Clinical Experiences project to develop the tools and capability to roll out the platform more widely to healthcare professionals.