Staying ahead of the game

Staying ahead of the game

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is critical, not least of all in healthcare as Simon Monkman, Director at Premier IT tells Jack Ball

Medical research and development is constantly providing newer and more effective methods of care for all members of the healthcare industry. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) allows healthcare professionals to build on their expertise and skills on a rolling basis, so that every patient under their supervision can be assured they are receiving the highest standards of benchmarked care.

A key player in the healthcare industry’s CPD programme, Premier IT has come to expand their remit into appraisal, revalidation, and education services. The company now boasts over 200 healthcare clients across the primary care, secondary care and independent healthcare landscape as partners in appraisal and revalidation services for the nation’s doctors, nurses and care support workers. They include leading UK NHS Trusts, independent hospital groups, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), area teams, medical staffing agencies and Medical Royal Colleges.

“Premier IT started about ten years ago, working with some of the Medical Royal Colleges. They were looking to develop e-portfolios around CPD to enable and capture more effective learning. Revalidation was then developed on a platform of learning, training and development needs with an online system that is tangible and can be captured,” Simon explains. “We were probably the pioneers of the very first comprehensive and absolutely validated online system that enabled doctors and specialist career-grade doctors to revalidate, a process that proved they were fit to practice safely.”

In short, the revalidation system allows doctors and other healthcare professionals to engage in a series of submissions, on a rolling basis, as well as patient and colleague feedback to ensure that they are trained to the highest possible level to an agreed benchmarked standard of excellence.

“Revalidation is a five year cycle for doctors,” explains Simon. “On a regular basis, within that five years, doctors would be expected to collect evidence through a multi-source feedback tool, which is driven through our portal. They can collect ratings from up to 20 patients and up to 15 and 20 colleagues, giving them excellent objective as well as granular feedback on their performance. Although some of them don’t like the process, it’s absolutely spot on and their appraiser will use that evidence to have a truly informed conversation about what they might be able to do to improve their working practice.”


Although this system began as a simple appraisal and revalidation tool, it soon expanded to integrate with other e-learning platforms to create a holistic view of workforce performance within one portal. “Along the journey of appraisal and feedback, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are able to identify where there are gaps in knowledge,” says Simon.

“We can then integrate this with various e-learning tools to blend all the required e-learning together. They can then learn and be educated online within the same portal. Any subsequent submission for appraisal will show not only that there was there a skills gap, but that there was the online education to respond to it.”

Raising standards internationally

With some overseas developing healthcare systems still struggling to pinpoint areas of weakness or improvement, the company is now looking to further market its software internationally.

“It’s often the case that organisations actually don’t know what their training needs are,” says Simon. “So we have to start with a self audit to understand exactly where the bar is in terms of staff performance and what they need to do to raise standards to meet this agreed level of care.”

It is at this point where Premier IT can make a tangible difference by providing a truly configurable solution, particularly if they are advising a brand new facility on their staffing and training needs.

“We can help such organisations conduct those audits and show where that initial benchmark sits. If there are no previous systems in place then we can provide the tools to enable their professionals to improve their performance, and enable managers in their organisation to report on how those performances can grow and develop over time.”

This process of self-appraisal to formulate organisational benchmarks of care, where one can evaluate individual performance, is also supported by universally applicable questions within the company’s appraisal software. “It’s important to note that everything we do is validated by panels of advisors and experts,” says Simon. “So we’ve got some really strong guidelines about the questions that can be asked and, as you can expect, the rules and regulations are quite stringent. However, these questions allow the user to understand very quickly how they’re doing, and more importantly, how their colleagues and patients think they’re doing.”

“Their answers come back in the form of a report, and we join up various elements and actions. We also suggest an online plan to help them improve upon their skills. Should e-learning and training be required, then a system of blended learning is already on hand to help plug any knowledge gaps.”

With overseas healthcare organisations looking to UK organisations and the NHS in particular, Simon is confident of Premier IT’s future role in helping to internationalise the universal standards of excellence expected from both the NHS and the UK more generally.

“Over time, Premier IT systems will help overseas organisations reach UK standards and levels,” says Simon. “Our systems are suitably configurable so users can switch on and off elements to make it their own system, unique to them. They are also sufficiently broad enough that you can narrow them down, enabling us to tune in to the real needs of an organisation.”

Curated from Article – Collaborate

Premier IT

Premier IT was first established as a training company in 1991 and since then, their offering has expanded to include software development and cloud computing. As of today they have helped over 500 clients across the UK tackle their biggest IT & learning concerns. Customers include not for profit organisations, membership bodies, charities, NHS trusts, law firms, media production companies, museums, publishers, airlines, travel agencies and all manner of small to medium to enterprise-sized businesses.