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      Improving the digital health of the workforce in the COVID-19 context: an opportunity to future-proof medical training

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          Abstract

          As well as its profound effects on healthcare and wider society, the COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching implications for the future training and professional development of healthcare workers and, in particular, doctors. While initial educational priorities focused on creating a more agile workforce with better cross-specialty skill-mix, attention must now shift to how our system can prepare a proportionate response that not only addresses the needs of the pandemic but also the underlying challenges of healthcare: multimorbidity, bridging the evidence–practice gap and delivering integrated, personalised medicine for all.

          It is our contention that meeting such challenges will require a rapid upskilling of the digital capabilities of the healthcare workforce. In short, optimising the health of the nation will depend, in part, on improving the digital health of the workforce.

          In this review, we examine how digital technology played its part in the COVID-19 response, and how fundamental changes to medical training are urgently needed in the context of a ‘healthcare reset’. Familiarity with health informatics, data science and digital technology have to move to centre stage in order to future-proof our profession in the years to come. The people that deliver care are our systems’ greatest asset, and at a time when change is accelerating, we cannot knowingly allow current and future colleagues to be ill-equipped to survive and thrive in the practice of medicine.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          Role: cardiology and chief registrar
          Role: associate professor in clinical data science and honorary consultant cardiologist
          Journal
          Future Healthc J
          Future Healthc J
          Future Healthcare Journal
          Royal College of Physicians
          2514-6645
          2514-6653
          October 2020
          : 7
          : 3
          : 189-192
          Affiliations
          ASt Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK
          BSt Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK, University College London, London, UK and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
          Author notes
          Address for correspondence: Dr Amitava Banerjee, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, 222 Euston Road, London NW1 2DA, UK. Email: ami.banerjee@ 123456ucl.ac.uk
          Article
          PMC7571768 PMC7571768 7571768 futurehealth
          10.7861/fhj.2020-0162
          7571768
          33094221
          0874bc78-c4b1-4ef5-8f1f-e805e9abf8d0
          © Royal College of Physicians 2020. All rights reserved.
          Page count
          Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 20, Pages: 4
          Categories
          Digital Health Workforce

          Data science,health informatics,digital,training
          Data science, health informatics, digital, training

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