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Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 185, Issue 1, pp 51–58 | Cite as

Online patient safety education programme for junior doctors: is it worthwhile?

  • S. E. McCarthy
  • C. A. O’Boyle
  • A. O’Shaughnessy
  • G. Walsh
Original Article

Abstract

Background

Increasing demand exists for blended approaches to the development of professionalism. Trainees of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland participated in an online patient safety programme.

Aims

Study aims were: (1) to determine whether the programme improved junior doctors’ knowledge, attitudes and skills relating to error reporting, open communication and care for the second victim and (2) to establish whether the methodology facilitated participants’ learning.

Methods

208 junior doctors who completed the programme completed a pre-online questionnaire. Measures were “patient safety knowledge and attitudes”, “medical safety climate” and “experience of learning”. Sixty-two completed the post-questionnaire, representing a 30 % matched response rate.

Results

Participating in the programme resulted in immediate (p < 0.01) improvement in skills such as knowing when and how to complete incident forms and disclosing errors to patients, in self-rated knowledge (p < 0.01) and attitudes towards error reporting (p < 0.01). Sixty-three per cent disagreed that doctors routinely report medical errors and 42 % disagreed that doctors routinely share information about medical errors and what caused them. Participants rated interactive features as the most positive elements of the programme.

Conclusions

An online training programme on medical error improved self-rated knowledge, attitudes and skills in junior doctors and was deemed an effective learning tool. Perceptions of work issues such as a poor culture of error reporting among doctors may prevent improved attitudes being realised in practice. Online patient safety education has a role in practice-based initiatives aimed at developing professionalism and improving safety.

Keywords

Patient safety E-learning Junior doctors Survey Professionalism 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Megan Burgdorf, RCPI, who contributed to the design of elements of the questionnaire and data collection and all those who completed questionnaires.

Conflict of interest

None.

Supplementary material

11845_2014_1218_MOESM1_ESM.docx (78 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 78 kb)

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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. McCarthy
    • 1
  • C. A. O’Boyle
    • 1
  • A. O’Shaughnessy
    • 2
  • G. Walsh
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of LeadershipRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublin 18Ireland
  2. 2.Education and Professional Development DepartmentRoyal College of Physicians of IrelandDublin 2Ireland

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