New app to enhance communication skills in health care

Peninsula Communication Skills is a new app which has been designed to enhance the communication skills of health care professionals.

The app has been developed by the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) Technology-enhanced Learning Team.

Also involved in the development were core and specialist trainees from Derriford Hospital, medical, nursing, physician associates students and administrative staff from Plymouth University.

The app addresses a number of important communication issues which are important to get right to ensure patient safety, excellent patient care and enhance the patient experience. It covers a number of scenarios including: giving information to patients; breaking bad news; effective communication within the health care team; dealing with angry patients, and; communication with patients’ relatives.

The app delivers the information via a series of videos showing poor and good practice, multiple choice questions and links to useful resources. Users can print a certificate after they have successfully answered the questions and there is a feedback survey.

The project team was led by Professor Hisham Khalil, Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Liaison at PUPSMD. His role included obtaining the grant, designing the scenarios and filming them as well as writing the questions and choosing the links.

He said: 

“Poor communication, between health care professionals and patients and between the healthcare team themselves can lead to serious yet avoidable problems. Through working with Health Education England, our colleagues in the South West NHS and our healthcare students across a range of disciplines, we are confident that in the Peninsula Communication Skills app we have delivered a useful and easily accessible resource which should help healthcare trainees and professionals enhance their communication skills.”

Peninsula Communication Skills is available free of charge for Android devices, iPhones and iPads.