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The University of Southampton

Internet-based learning will help health care staff assess patients before their operations

Published: 27 April 2004

Health care professionals preparing patients for operations will soon be able to use award-winning on-line learning material prepared by the University of Southampton's Health Care Innovation Unit together with the University's e-media section.

The Unit has signed an agreement to develop three modules in partnership with the NHS University (NHSU) and e-media. They will build on the success of a multi-professional learning tool to aid pre-operative assessment, based on a CD Rom and book, which was launched within the NHS in September 2002. More than 6,000 copies are already in use nationally.

This was named best adult/lifelong learning interactive media resource by the British Universities Film and Video Council and the Society for Screen-Based Learning at the Learning on Screen Awards in London.

By identifying and understanding the needs and wishes of each individual patient and their medical condition, health care professionals can ease their fears and anxieties and make sure the patient is fit to undergo surgery and anaesthetic. In this way, staff can ensure their progress through the process of surgical care is as trouble-free as possible.

Professor Debra Humphris, Director of the Health Care Innovation Unit, said: "We know that a number of health provider organisations and universities have been using the book and CD as part of their learning provision. By working in partnership with the NHSU the potential that web based delivery offers will open up new and exciting learning opportunities. It will also enable students' learning to be assessed and accredited. As changes in the workforce involved in the delivery of surgical services move forward, so we hope these modules will be highly relevant to setting a standard in pre assessment services."

NHSU Project Lead Amanda Bassett said she was delighted that the contract has been signed: "This work is so exciting! It supports service redesign and many elements of the wider modernisation agenda. All professionals working in pre-operative assessment whatever their background will be able to build their knowledge to practice and support one another in the workplace resulting in better patient care and safety."

The first students should be able to start using the materials in June 2005.

Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has over 19,200 students and 4,800 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £250 million.

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