How can advances in medical technology support junior doctors’ studies?

There are more than 50,000 junior doctors in England[i]. Junior doctors are vital to the future of the UK health services, yet, they are often the ones that feel the most overworked.[ii] Recent research from the Royal College of Physicians found that 70% of junior doctors worked on a rota that was permanently understaffed, while 80% felt their job put them under too much stress, and 25% said it had a serious effect on their mental health.[iii]

 

With this in mind, it is no surprise that junior doctors are feeling increasingly time poor. Indeed, research from Indextra revealed that almost two-thirds (60%) feel they do not have enough time to spend in CPD training[iv]. Furthermore, 80% of junior doctors feel the need to be more knowledgeable because patients are now more informed than ever before; and 78% feel increasing pressure from their patients to know everything.iv

The study from Indextra also revealed that over four-fifths (84%) of junior doctors believe there needs to be better integration of digital tools and resources to support improved diagnosis, treatment and management of patients. The need for improved health technology tools and resources has been set out in recent, NHS Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) guidelines, advising how best to offer health technology as a form of education, such as computer-based simulations and mobile apps for e-learning. [v]

The General Medical Council also recently updated its requirements for medical education and training, noting that trainees should use technology enhanced learning opportunities such as simulated patient environments, to improve clinical and practical skills.vi With the Department of Health also saying that innovative educational technologies provide unique opportunities for health care students[vi], it is clear that technologies including mobile apps, virtual reality and integrated simulators, could go some way in enabling junior doctors to develop essential knowledge and skills, needed for safe and effective patient care. vi

With the rise of new state of the art training centres in NHS trusts allowing junior doctors to develop their skills using brand new VR technology; those undertaking training in medical specialities such as general surgery, psychiatry, or respiratory medicine, can now use VR to help them learn how to perform new procedures. Simulation-based training could also boost junior doctors’ confidence in handling critically ill patients, including diagnosis skills and decision-making.

The majority of junior doctors, who have access to mobile apps, use them to help diagnose and manage their patients, as well as for education purposes.[vii]  Apps can also be extremely useful on busy wards, which have a limited number of computers, providing quick access to information. Indeed, Indextra research showed that 96% of junior doctors would feel more confident diagnosing, treating and managing their patients if they had an app with medical resources and information, to hand.

The advancement of digital tools and medical apps like Indextra can be used to support junior doctors in their studies, optimize their time, and enable them to be up to date with the most readily available resources. For your free 30-day trial of Indextra, visit the sign up page.

[i] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34798215 (Last Accessed: February 2019)

[ii] Working in a system that is under pressure, BMA, 2018: (Last Accessed: February 2019)

[iii] https://www.standard.co.uk/futurelondon/health/what-tech-is-already-doing-for-our-healthcare-a3885911.html  (Last Accessed: February 2019)

[iv] Indextra research, conducted by Censuswide, June 2018   (Last Accessed: February 2019)

[v] Guidelines for commissioning Technology Enhanced Learning in the NHS, 2017  (Last Accessed: February 2019)

[vi] A Framework for Technology Enhanced Learning, Department of Health, 2011  (Last Accessed: February 2019)

[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23110712/    (Last Accessed: February 2019)