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New e-learning course champions patient safety

07 February, 2013

A new learning course pioneered by two University of South Australia lecturers is aimed at raising the standard of handover of patient care in hospital and care facilities across the country.

In cooperation with St Andrew's Hospital, UniSA’s Tina Holmes and Dr Jane Warland from the School of Nursing and Midwifery have developed an innovative e-learning course, designed to be used by health professionals at any stage of their career.

The launch of the course coincides with the declaration of Clinical Handover as one of the new National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. It also follows research by the World Health Organisation, identifying poor implementation of clinical handover as one of the top five patient safety problems.

Holmes said effective clinical communication is vital to ensure patient safety and quality in the provision of healthcare.

"Patients are often vulnerable when critically unwell and depend on the health team to communicate crucial information relevant to their plan of care," Holmes said.

"It was critical to develop a workable education tool that identified key issues to highlight which clinical handover situations carry the most risk and what interventions are most effective based on current research evidence."

"It was also crucial that this e-learning tool had real world applications connecting users with authentic scenarios."

The e-learning course comprises four modules including videos of real life clinical handover scenarios with assessed exercises at the end of each module. The videos show good clinical handovers and also highlight what can go wrong if structured approaches are not adopted when clinical handovers occur.

Commercialisation of the course was made possible through the support of ITEK Ventures, the technology transfer company of the University of South Australia.

Dr Stephanie Agius, the Commercial Manager of ITEK Ventures says the Clinical Handover e-learning Course has been developed by a multi-disciplinary team of people with different expertise and experience adding to the breadth and quality of the course.

"Being part of a cohesive team has allowed the development of this course to progress and is now being made available to the public to ensure all health care providers can meet accreditation for clinical handover," Dr Agius said.

IntelliLearn, a leader in on-line education in clinical health practice, is hosting and marketing the course to health services throughout Australia and New Zealand.

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