Healthcare Skills International Training, specialises in providing high-quality training to medical and healthcare professionals is launching the UK’s first ever accredited course in telemedicine and video consultation.

The consulting course, Principles of Clinical Virtual Consultation, has been developed as a direct result of demand from doctors across the world who have had to offer online appointments to patients as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Concerns about patient safety are directly addressed in this innovative course, delivered by Healthcare Skills Training International.

A range of factors will be covered, including; correct diagnosis and managing patient safety in an online environment, recognising patient perspective and the legal aspects of online appointments.

The course has been devised and written by telemedicine pioneer, Dr Mateen Jiwani, a GP and clinical lecturer in digital health and telemedicine with a particular interest in patient safety and consultation models.

As lockdown restrictions ease across the UK, the digital health expert is concerned that patients will miss out on the benefits of online consultations as doctors move back to face-to-face appointments.

Dr Jiwani, who is based in London, first became interested remote patient and doctor consultations as early as 2011 when a patient who was travelling to France asked him for a consultation via Skype.

This led to the physician trialling a version of ‘virtual clinics’ when it wasn’t the norm. It became clear to Dr Jiwani that this could be beneficial for both doctor and patient with the correct guidelines and safety procedures in place.

He explained: “In the last 18 months, during the Covid-19 pandemic, medics have been forced to start using technology in order to see patients. “These remote consultations have been changing lives for patients by increasing access to doctors and clinicians. However, for digital appointments to remain a valuable part of our health service, support is needed.

“With so many platforms out there, it’s overwhelming. Every week there is yet another app and yet another system. Healthcare systems are at a stretch. If we try to adopt technology without the right training and support, doctors will abandon this novel and necessary approach.

“Building doctors’ technological confidence is the first step when it comes to offering remote consultations. From there, the course I have developed covers a range of issues with accurate diagnosis being a critical component.

“Seeing a rash on-screen, for instance, can be very different from viewing it in person. It’s important that healthcare professionals understand the differences between consulting online and being a room with a patient.

“Confidentiality is another key issue: someone else can be in the background with a patient although not visible during the appointment. This is crucial since an individual might feel compromised if, for example, they are living with an abusive and violent partner and feel unable to disclose information.”

Healthcare Skills Training International was established in 2000 by Glasgow-based Diane Irvine, who has more than 30 years experience in the healthcare and medical devices industry. The company, which operates internationally, runs a range of short, informative and accredited courses which keep clinicians at the forefront of the latest developments in their respective fields.

She said: “Initially, like many business-owners, I was worried our business, which heavily relied on face-to-face training, would not be able to continue, but we moved quickly to put all our courses online at the start of the pandemic. Demand soared globally.

“Even though the technology existed pre-Covid, the medical world still relied on ‘being in the room.’ The world has changed and medical and healthcare professionals have had to alter the way they work.

“This new groundbreaking course, for which participants gain a Postgraduate Award (PGA), adds to our suite of high-quality training delivered by respected leaders in their discipline.

“Our company plays a key role in educating medics in areas not typically taught in a university setting.

“As is the case with every course run by Healthcare Skills Training International, patient safety is at the very top of our agenda.”

Diane Irvine of Healthcare Skills with Dr Mateen Jiwani on screen

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