How Can You Support Quality Clinical Experiences with Digital or Mobile Assessment Technology?

In this blog post, we cover how digital or mobile assessment technology can not only support the quality and consistency of competency-based assessment, but enhance the student experience throughout clerkship or clinical placement.

Delivering quality and consistency in a students’ clinical experience whilst on clerkship or clinical placement is vital for empowering that student on their journey to unsupervised practice.  Only through quality and consistency can students take full advantage of authentic opportunities to apply their learning and experience. Equally, by improving the quality of the feedback from practice supervisors or preceptors, the potential for students to direct their own learning becomes greater. Being able to effectively monitor and measure quality and consistency is therefore not only key to ensuring students meet the competencies and learning outcomes, but also for embedding life-long learning skills.

For a long time, digital assessment technology has been proposed as a way of supporting the student’s learning whilst in workplace settings, as well as ultimately ensuring the quality and consistency of that experience. But in what ways can technology help deliver quality and consistency across clinical experiences or years?

Below we’ve listed a few of the ways in which digital assessment technology, and indeed, mobile assessment technology, with full mobile and offline capability unique to Myprogress, can support from both student and faculty perspectives.


1. Data, data and more data

One of the most valuable (if not the most valuable) aspects of assessment technology is the level of data and insight it can provide into the quality and consistency of clinical experiences.  An example of some of the data Myprogress can provide is of course any data contained within an assessment or form deployed to the student or supervisor i.e. feedback forms, feedback and grading on assessments, what assessments were completed, when and by whom.  By reporting on this data and regularly reviewing this data, you are able to not only gauge quality and consistency, but also begin to use this data to pick up on trends such as failure to fail or where areas require improvement.


2. Easily implement new assessment workflows and best practice 

Change is always difficult to realise in any programme, and of course any changes will hopefully be few and far between, but where the data shows a need for improvement or you are looking at adopting new question types or assessment methods this is of course easier to implement in the digital world. Myprogress supports different assessment workflows, as well as enables you to bring different stakeholders into the assessment process such as patients, peers and other members of the healthcare team. If you are also considering implementing Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), digital assessment technology can support you in the pilot and roll-out, using the output data to evaluate the impact on quality and assessment (read our latest blog on implementing EPAs with digital assessment technology).


3. Improve the quality of each learning or assessment experience 

Moving to a digital or mobile way of working only has one major hurdle when it comes to assessment in clinical settings and that is WiFi connectivity.  The quality of experience when a student is being directly observed or assessed and obtaining feedback relies on that process remaining uninterrupted.  This is why it is important for the digital assessment tool to have offline capability, as well as be available on mobile devices, enabling the student to obtain feedback anytime and anywhere.  When considering a digital assessment tool, it is worth considering the offline and mobile capability to enable your students to have the best opportunity for valuable learning experiences and quality feedback (download our guide on this here). 


4. Create a narrative around assessment and feedback

Logging clinical skills and achieving competence is one thing, but without the narrative around knowledge, skills and behaviours, feedback and the ability to encourage life-long learning skills is limited. The beauty in technology, especially mobile technology, is in the inbuilt functionality it has to bring feedback to life, improve communication and ultimately build a narrative around quantitative feedback.  Functionality built into mobile devices can also be built into mobile assessment technology, such as the ability to record video or audio feedback, or write feedback through speech-to-text – making it easier for preceptors or practice supervisors to deliver greater, quality feedback.


5. Provide value beyond assessment 

Digitally transforming your way of working can bring up many hurdles, but the value of going digital, or mobile in the case of Myprogress, can bring value beyond the assessment process.  The practice assessment experience is no longer simply a box ticking exercise. As students hold their entire assessment experience and ePortfolio on their device, your institution has the ability to use that platform to regularly engage with the student.  Through Myprogress it is possible to push out forms to collect other forms of data, carry out inductions or patient satisfaction surveys, record meetings, encourage students to reflect on their practice and share resources.  From the perspective of the practice supervisor or preceptor, you have a digital record of all of the assessments they have carried out should they wish to use this as evidence for CPD or revalidation.  Finally, by adopting mobile or digital technology you have supported the development of digital literacy for students and staff alike, preparing them for an ever-changing digital future.