Recommendations to advance eHealth education for clinicians

The Department of Education's Office for Learning and Teaching has published the final report of a project investigating how eHealth and clinical informatics capabilities are taught at an undergraduate and postgraduate level for students in medical, nursing and allied health courses.

Led by Kathleen Gray and Ambica Dattakumar of the Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre at the University of Melbourne, the three-year project investigated the level of theoretical and practical understanding of eHealth and its implications for the education of future clinicians.

The report explores current practices in a number of health professions, provides an inventory of resources used for clinical education and also provides a set of clinical scenarios that the different disciplines would face in professional practice.

These include:

  • Chinese Medicine – Drug interaction database
  • Chiropractic – Medical image sharing
  • Dentistry – Tele-diagnosis
  • Dietetics – Online support groups for health
  • General Practice – Shared electronic health record
  • Midwifery – Patient flow management
  • Nursing – Tablet computers for mobile health
  • Occupational Therapy – Games for health
  • Paramedics – Disaster management system
  • Pharmacy – Prescriptions exchange system
  • Physiotherapy – Tele-rehabilitation
  • Psychology – Virtual environments for therapy
  • Social Work – Health data linkage

It provides a recommended program of the work to be done to advance eHealth education for the clinical professions, as well as a series of basic recommendations for further work.

These recommendations are:

  • New learning, teaching and assessment resources are needed to explain and explore eHealth and clinical informatics in current and future healthcare contexts
  • Up-to-date professional development in eHealth and clinical informatics needs to be made accessible to teachers, tutors and student supervisors in the health professions
  • Revised accreditation and certification frameworks for the clinical health professions need to include clear specifications of eHealth and clinical informatics competencies
  • Human resources management of professional staff in healthcare organisations needs to recognise and reward eHealth and clinical informatics competencies
  • Systematic planning and development of professional practice in the health professions needs to integrate long-term eHealth and clinical informatics goals.

The authors, who also include Anthony Maeder of the University of Western Sydney, Kerryn Butler-Henderson of Curtin University and Helen Chenery of the University of Queensland, say it is the first study of its kind to be undertaken in Australia and provides an important set of reference data for benchmarking curriculum renewal in future.

The report is available to download from the project website.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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