An eHealth capabilities framework for graduates and health professionals: Mixed-methods study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2018, 20 (5)
Issue Date:
2018-05-01
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© Melissa Brunner, Deborah McGregor, Melanie Keep, Anna Janssen, Heiko Spallek, Deleana Quinn, Aaron Jones, Emma Tseris, Wilson Yeung, Leanne Togher, Annette Solman, Tim Shaw. Background: The demand for an eHealth-ready and adaptable workforce is placing increasing pressure on universities to deliver eHealth education. At present, eHealth education is largely focused on components of eHealth rather than considering a curriculum-wide approach. Objective: This study aimed to develop a framework that could be used to guide health curriculum design based on current evidence, and stakeholder perceptions of eHealth capabilities expected of tertiary health graduates. Methods: A 3-phase, mixed-methods approach incorporated the results of a literature review, focus groups, and a Delphi process to develop a framework of eHealth capability statements. Results: Participants (N=39) with expertise or experience in eHealth education, practice, or policy provided feedback on the proposed framework, and following the fourth iteration of this process, consensus was achieved. The final framework consisted of 4 higher-level capability statements that describe the learning outcomes expected of university graduates across the domains of (1) digital health technologies, systems, and policies; (2) clinical practice; (3) data analysis and knowledge creation; and (4) technology implementation and codesign. Across the capability statements are 40 performance cues that provide examples of how these capabilities might be demonstrated. Conclusions: The results of this study inform a cross-faculty eHealth curriculum that aligns with workforce expectations. There is a need for educational curriculum to reinforce existing eHealth capabilities, adapt existing capabilities to make them transferable to novel eHealth contexts, and introduce new learning opportunities for interactions with technologies within education and practice encounters. As such, the capability framework developed may assist in the application of eHealth by emerging and existing health care professionals. Future research needs to explore the potential for integration of findings into workforce development programs.
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