RCGP “Telehealth, Telemedicine and Telecare: an Introduction to ‘TECS'”
Technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, often improving our lives and becoming integral to how we conduct our day to day and professional lives. A prime example of this is the development of the smartphone; given that we have embraced technology so fully in today’s world, it is vital that our healthcare services do so to maximise opportunities that it offers and bring healthcare into the world of how many patients operate their lives.
This is where Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS), such as Flo come in using accessible and convenient methods in motivating patients to increase their engagement in their own self-care by providing that extra support that really gives patients the confidence to engage in the self-management of their health. Indeed, Flo’s efficacy hinges on the fact that she utilises one of the most accessible and familiar forms of modern technology: text messaging.
To get the most from TECS such as Flo, it is vital that healthcare staff are well informed, and have the knowledge that allows them to use TECS to bring true benefit to the lives of their patients. The Royal College of General Practitioners now offers a free online course to introduce the core concepts, applications and advantages of TECS to healthcare workers.
To access the eLearning course, you can either use your existing RCGP login details, or if you are not registered you can sign up for a free account. Sign up open to all, so non-clinical members of staff are also able to improve their knowledge and understanding of TECS.
How is the course structured?
The course begins by taking you through a pre-course assessment with 8 multiple choice questions, providing a baseline for what you may, or may not already know about TECS. Having completed this, you will then work your way through 3 learning sessions:
- Telehealth, telemedicine and telecare: an introduction to “TECS”
- Technology enabled care in practice: ideas and examples
- Technology enabled care in practice: developing and evaluating
Each of these sections is made up of interactive slides that along the way will ask you to consider your existing knowledge of TECS as well as what you have learned during the session. For example, the first session, Telehealth, telemedicine and telecare: an introduction to “TECS” asks you to write about any example telehealth you may have already come across already, a prime example being Flo. Having done so you are able to submit your answer, and additional information specific to the question is provided. These tasks are present in all three learning sessions, and are useful to both consolidate knowledge and prompt more consideration of the application of TECS. Additionally, at the end of the learning session, there is the option to download any answers you may have submitted so that you can review them at a later date.
Having completed the learning sessions, there is a post-course assessment and once complete you will be able to download a certificate stating that you have completed the online course.
What is the course like?
The course itself is very informative; it provides a great overview for any who are new to the idea of TECS, or can act as a useful refresher for those who already have some knowledge of the subject. The learning sessions also feature a number of short videos about the application of TECS; how they are implemented, how they work and the experiences that patients have of using them, the focus of many of the videos being Flo’s application.
The questions asked during the learning sessions are particularly useful, as the suggestions given afterwards are likely to prompt more in depth thought on the subject. The post-course assessment is also helpful in this way, as once submitted the answers are expanded on, which further consolidates your knowledge.
The length of this course is suggested to be around 90 minutes; while this may be accurate for those with prior knowledge of TECS, perhaps slightly more time may be needed by those unfamiliar with them to really get the most from the course.
This RCGP eLearning course showcases the implementation of the NHS’s Flo as the subject example, something that we here at Simple Shared Healthcare are proud of. The eLearning course also features an excerpt from the Health Foundation’s award winning short film about the impact that Flo has on patient’s lives, “The Power of People”. You can watch the full film here.
This recognition by the RCGP by using Flo as the exemplar example of TECS delivery in their pioneering eLearning package is another milestone for Flo distinguishing the scale at which Flo is used and the impacts delivered across the United Kingdom.
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