Trainee doctor members of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists are using a new web-based system, ePortfolio from Premier IT, to keep track of student portfolios throughout their career development.
ePortfolio is designed to allow the user to continually record their accomplishments and achievements, and to promote personal development and career planning.
Premier IT’s director. Peter Bodley-Scott, told E-Health Insider: “Ensuring your career development is up to scratch is extremely important, and this has been the case even more so since the Harold Shipman tragedies. Health professionals must pro-actively monitor competence and ensure they are aware of all relevant medical changes as soon as possible.”
The package is made up of a personal electronic record containing information such as personal development plans, achievements, skills and competencies, individual notes and learning outcomes needed to complete their portfolio.
It is being used by new entrants to the college as a way of monitoring their portfolio whilst completing the postgraduate ‘Gold Guide’ course.
Bodley-Scott explained: “The system is being used by both trainees and trainers enabling them to record and reflect on their achievements on an ongoing basis. ePortfolio has been designed with a light front-end to ensure NHS compatibility and presents all parties involved with medical training with a unique service bringing portfolios, formal reviews, resources, assessments and the career development programme completely online.”
The system is backed up hourly from a remote server and data is saved daily on a series of servers to ensure minimal downtime should any errors occur. This was an important requirement for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, especially after the recent MTAS scandal.
“One of the big problems that Royal Colleges face in monitoring career development, was tackling fraud from some trainees who would complete and sign off their own paper-based assessment forms. This would often go unnoticed for months, and in some cases not noticed at all. Using highly secure electronic records means that the instructor remains firmly in control and only they can approve portfolios,” said Bodley-Scott.
Using the electronic system, trainees are presented with a calendar to remind them of upcoming deadlines and assessments which are yet to be completed.
Bodley-Scott said: “Essentially, the ePortfolio gives the transparency and consistency needed for training in the healthcare sector. It allows the trainer to be fully confident that the trainee has learnt sufficient amounts of the syllabus to ensure they have the patient’s best interests at heart.”
Other features include the ability to multi-source assessments, where third parties, agreed by the trainer, can log into a secure web link and complete a survey demonstrating the trainee’s capabilities.
Trainees can also save resources which they find useful for future reference in a dedicated section.
Bodley-Scott says the benefits are noticeable and that other Royal Colleges are looking to pilot its potential next year.
“As the government moves into reducing carbon footprints, healthcare is looking to move away from paper based systems. Current audits of career development portfolios are equivalent to 12 metric tones of paper records, and more and more, the royal colleges are looking to cut this. We are in negotiations with many other royal colleges and hope to be able to speak with the Department of Health in the near future about this unique system.”