H. Dexter

University of Manchester (UNITED KINGDOM)
Managing undergraduate medicine is a complex undertaking requiring the inter-operation of academic and professional health care organisations, and involving many roles and locations. The student journey is long, five years, resource-intensive and high-pressured. The programme must provide high-quality education in compliance with the practices and outcomes specified by its professional regulatory body. A large volume of student information is gathered and used to ensure student welfare and professionalism, alongside support for progression through the programme. Here, we describe a whole system approach to: supporting the student journey, developing good practice in information governance, and creating a foundation for knowledge management. The resultant suite of services and the implementation process also form a reference model for the co-evolution of systems with medical education practice.

The primary goal of developing a new system was to bring all the people involved in the programme (students, administrators, tutors, clinicians and managers) into one coherent on-line space in which they would have managed access to all the information required for their respective roles. The resultant system, 1Med, comprises a suite of services, built ‘on top’ of the university’s core systems (student records, human resources and client relationship management). 1Med integrates education, administration and management; and uses its operational services to provide data objects for both learning and operations analytics with output to dashboards. Its development tackled issues of poor data security, poor information governance, lack of confidence in operational information, wasted man-hours in data handling, and difficulty in obtaining current and reliable information. It also addressed needed improvements in the students’ learning experience, in particular: the portfolio for personal and professional development, access to learning content, curriculum mapping, individual timetabling, and relevant, timely communications.

The services within the 1Med system have been rolled out incrementally and those which have now been in use for several years are yielding evidence of success in removing barriers to good information provision, improving information governance, and changing people’s mindsets in relation to the use of IT to support the student journey. Ongoing development of the system is evolutionary, driven by regular discussion with stakeholders about support for evolving practice; and by use of the analytics facilities. The use of analytics to drive system evolution is expected to increase as users become accustomed to having these services. The system maintenance plan has run since the start of the system’s roll-out and continues.

The reference model is expressed in relation to a value network for the student journey and for the institution’s goals for undergraduate medical education. It encompasses the service component architecture, usage scenarios and impact on practice. The reference model also includes the mechanisms required to generate a data warehouse for analytics from operational and learning service components. To succeed in its complex and changing environment, the system has to evolve. Good use of both operational and learning analytics will facilitate this, with the reference model providing a means to communicate and manage the system evolution.