Trainee pharmacists speed ahead in digital practice

Pharmacists-to-be are being trained on the world’s first fully patient-controlled online health record.

Digital skills are central to the preparation of students on LJMU’s professionally-accredited undergraduate Masters degree in Pharmacy (MPharm).

And LJMU is one of the first pharmacy/medical schools in the UK to train undergraduates on the Patients Know Best personal health record (see BMJOpinion blog).

Bob Morris, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy, in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, says using the platform, which gives patients access to their records via a smartphone or PC, and simulating interactions between patients and practitioners is invaluable preparation for trainees.

New ways of working

“Our students will be working in new ways when they graduate so we wanted to provide them with experience of digital healthcare. Patients Know Best proved a suitable platform to not only gain experience but also to develop new digital communication skills.

Over the past year, students at all four levels of the MPharm have used the platform in their studies.

Embedding communication skills and encouraging self-management with patients are core learning outcomes for pharmacy students at LJMU.

Students are encouraged to consider the role of a patient-controlled health record as both a platform to communicate with patients, but also an integral source of patient-reported data that can contribute to medication management and holistic patient health care.

What students said:

One student said: “It made me realise that patients don't always know about their medication and need more advice where appropriate.”

And other commented: “Helped me as ‘the patient’ to understand how as a pharmacist I can recognise key signs and symptoms.  This will aid me in my OSCEs as it will allow me to know what sort of things to say to and ask the patient when acting as a pharmacist in a similar scenario.”

Dr Sarah Wright, Programme Manager for Wales and Lead for Education, Patients Know Best, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Bob and the students at Liverpool John Moores University.  By including this in their curriculum they are helping our next generation of pharmacists start their careers in healthcare”

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