New scheme to reduce trainee mistakes

AN education programme that uses smartphone apps could cut the number of clinical errors made by new doctors.

Case-based learning using virtual patient scenarios and apps, and a 10-week teaching programme with feedback from consultants form part of the new initiative being piloted by trainees in the renal unit at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The project, called Prescribing Insight for the Future (ePIFFany), is being led by a team of researchers at Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester. They will study the use of education in reducing clinical errors and improving the knowledge, skills and prescribing performance of junior doctors.

Under the scheme, trainees will benefit from face-to-face sessions and discussions on key topics relating to prescribing in renal disease. Consultants and pharmacists will then offer feedback on their performance.

Researchers will measure the effectiveness of the education programme by comparing error rates, error severity and medication error types on real prescription charts before and after it is introduced.

It is hoped the scheme will boost prescribing knowledge and general knowledge amongst trainees by 20 per cent.

“Entrustable professional activities” will be used as assessments for measuring workplace performance. These include writing in the notes, writing drug charts, updating handover and performing a ward round with a senior doctor.

Lead researcher Dr Rakesh Patel told hospitaldr.co.uk: “What is novel about this study is that we are specifically interested in how junior doctors are making a diagnosis, what processes they are using when making clinical decisions but most importantly we are looking at the human factors associated with their performance.”

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