Making the right choice for diagnosis and treatment
Clinical decision-making skills or clinical reasoning is the complex set of skills and abilities needed in clinical practice to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan for and with patients. The EU is making nearly 1 million euros available to an international research team, which is coordinated at the University of Augsburg. The aim is to develop a curriculum for students and teachers in the health sector that takes into account both the acquisition and the imparting of clinical decision-making skills.
Every tenth decision is wrong
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of errors and undesirable effects in health care in the European Union is around ten percent. Wrong decisions in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases contribute significantly to this error rate. The consequences can be serious: they endanger the safety of patients and lead to higher costs in the healthcare system. „Although clinical decision-making skills are so important for a well-functioning health system, we still know far too little about how these skills can be properly taught and tested in training for health professionals. This also applies to medical studies in Germany and Europe,” explains Associea professor Dr. Inga Hege from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Augsburg. Together with scientists from all over Europe, she has therefore started a research project which is intended to address this deficiency.
Taking a look at both sides
„We want to develop curricula for the students as well as to train the teachers,“ continues Hege. The topic is as difficult to learn as it is to teach, as it involves many unconscious skills. That is why the project managers have undertaken to develop a curriculum for the students as well as a train-the-trainer course that supports teachers in teaching clinical decision-making . They want to use modern and innovative teaching and testing concepts with a combination of online and face-to-face classes, known as blended learning. „The funding of the research project by the EU shows how important clinical decision-making is for all health professions,“ emphasises the founding dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Martina Kadmon. „I am already looking forward to the results of the project , which will also be important and helpful for us in Augsburg in the further development of our medical degree program.“
„We also pay attention also to the fact that our curriculum can easily be integrated into a wide range of existing study programmes,” says Hege. After all, it is a major concern of the research association to feed the results internationally into the different training and study courses in the health professions. The project partners from all over Europe are carrying out a targeted needs analysis in order to better understand the current situation at European universities. Building on this, learning objectives are formulated and suitable learning and examination methods are selected. Both the curriculum and the offers for teachers are implemented and evaluated at all partner universities with the support of industry partners. There are nearly 1 million euros for the project from Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances 2019, which, among other things, promotes the development of innovative and multidisciplinary teaching and learning concepts in cooperation between higher education institutions and businesses.
The research project:
DID-ACT. Developing, implementing, and disseminating an adaptive clinical reasoning curriculum for healthcare students and educators
Funding: Erasmus + Wissensallianzen 2019
Budget: 998,908 euros
Duration: January 2020 to December 2022 (three years)
Project coordination: University of Augsburg, Germany (PD Dr. med. Inga Hege)
Partner: University of Bern, Switzerland (Prof. Dr. Sören Huwendiek); University of Örebro, Sweden (Dr. Samuel Edelbring); Instruct gGmbH , Germany (Martin Adler); Digital Education Holdings Ltd., Malta (Dr. Nils Thiessen); University of Maribor, Slovenia (Monika Sobocan); Jagiellonian University, Poland (Dr. habil Andrzej Kononowicz).
Erasmus + Knowledge Alliances2019 on the Internet: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/actions/key-action-2-cooperation-for-innovation-and-exchange-good-practices/knowledge-alliances_en
The Augsburg University Medical Centre
… includes the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Augsburg, the University Hospital of Augsburg and – as a cooperation partner – the Augsburg District Hospital – Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine of the University of Augsburg. The main research areas of the Faculty of Medicine are medical informatics as well as environment and health. Around 100 professors will ultimately be involved in biomedical and human medical research and teaching. Since the winter semester of 2019/20, the Faculty of Medicine has offered a model study programme in human medicine that integrates pre-clinical and clinical content and attaches particular importance to the scientific education of ultimately 1,500 students.
The University Hospital of Augsburg (UKA), which has been under the auspices of the Free State of Bavaria since 2019, offers optimal medical care to the population of the city and the region through its involvement in university medical research and teaching at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Augsburg. Including the day hospital beds, there are 1,740 beds available at the UKA. 24 clinics, three institutes and 19 centres assure diagnosis and treatment at the highest level in all medical disciplines. Around 250,000 outpatients and inpatients are cared for annually. With approximately 80,000 patients per year, the emergency department of the UKA is the second largest emergency department in the Federal Republic. Every year more than 2,450 children come into the world at the UKA. With 560 training places, the UKA-affiliated Academy of Health Professions is one of the largest training providers in the region.
Contact for scientific information:
PD Dr. Inga Hege, project coordinator DID-ACT
Faculty of Medicine
Phone: +49 (0) 821 598-2704