NUI Galway teaching software adopted by Belgian university
By Mary O’connor
An NUI Galway medical teaching tool has been adopted by a Belgian university.
Qpercom, a spin-out campus company at the Galway university, has been contracted to supply a performance and competence software product for medical students at the University of Leuven in Belgium.
The packages developed at NUI Galway have improved educational decision making in the college’s school of medicine for the past year. Using the programmes Assessment Management Information Systems (AMIS) and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), critical medical skills of students can be assessed using real life situations, eradicating the need for laborious paper trails. The tools are being used in clinical assessments across all years of study in the School of Medicine and School of Nursing at NUI Galway.
Clinical examinations for medical students consist of practical tasks which must be assessed, explains a spokesperson for the local university.
“Traditionally the results of assessment of these different tasks, such as taking blood pressure for example, are recorded on paper. Examiners then have a large paper trail to contend with and it is very difficult to consolidate information. Each individual element of clinical examination is added together to get an aggregate pass mark.”
Qpercom’s products enable assessors to have all the information to hand on a specialised computer programme allowing for more efficient assessment and a greater results analysis. The breakdown of assessments is easily available to determine where student skills may be lacking. The software also has features to enable examiners to create tailor-made assessment forms allowing for greater flexibility and transparency.
“This newly awarded contract with the Leuven University is a validation for the company. The Belgian university trains 450 medical students annually in clinical skill laboratories. Qpercom’s product AMIS is already being used by a Dutch safety training and assessment company and was recently nominated for the Ronald Harden Innovation in Medical Education Award in Kuala Lumpur.
Professor Andrew Murphy of NUI Galway’s general practice department says this new software product has exceeded expectations.
“It is completely reliable, easy to use and has introduced substantial administrative economies. It has significantly enhanced our ability to validly determine competence.”
Dr Thomas Kropmans, senior lecturer in medical informatics and medical education at the college and CEO of Qpercom, says spinning-out is a very challenging experience in the current economic climate.
“Sales cycles are long and universities cut down their expenses. Leuven’s school of medicine recognised the twofold benefit of eliminating the paper trail reducing cost and the advantage of immediate access to highly valuable information that has serious implication for patient and clinician safety.”