Leicester medical school is teaching its first years to hold online consultations in what it claims is a first for any UK university.
Since October, 176 of its students have taken part in live virtual consultation scenarios using Patients Know Best, an online, patient-controlled medical records system.
The system, developed by a doctor, is used by more than 30 hospitals around the world including Great Ormond Street. The school says it complies with NHS and UK data protection requirements.
Leicester innovation lead and senior teaching fellow Ron Hsu said: ‘GPs and specialists alike are going to need to know how to communicate and interact with patients using these technologies.
‘Our hope is that by putting online consultation early in our undergraduate teaching, we will not only prepare our students for the future but help them improve the level of care they provide patients.’
Leicester BMA intra-school committee chair Rebecca Cole and BMA medical students committee representative Charlotte Kelly praised the school’s commitment to using technology to aid learning.
They added: ‘The progress of this initiative will be closely followed and we hope that equal exposure to consultations in person will continue.’
BMA medical academic staff committee co-chair Peter Dangerfield welcomed the new technology.
He said: ‘It will give students a feel for a consultation and enable them to develop their communication skills effectively in a life-like environment early in their careers.’