E-Portfolio: An advanced training & educational tool

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The Government of Malta identified the need for an “e-Portfolio” system which would serve as a training and educational tool to help the development and assessment of medical specialists and consultants. The benefits of e-portfolio typically derive from the exchange of ideas and feedback between the author (trainee) and those who view and interact with the portfolio (such as trainers). In addition, the trainee’s personal reflection on the medical work conducted the system helps create a meaningful learning experience.

The solution ICON provided allowed the Government of Malta to reduce inefficiencies, improve productivity and data accuracy as well as mine data in real-time whilst allowing trainees to present a highly-detailed medical profile.

Business Objectives:

The project objectives were to create an online system that follows the academic training milestones of a trainee and puts such students at par with their European counterparts who have been using such systems for some years. The system is supported by a data-flow methodology that recognises competencies – an essential element in medical postgraduate training – as well as managing online medical assessments and reports.

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Solution:

ICON developed a bespoke system which allows for the planning of student curricula, the building of online portfolios, the creation of e-assessments and management of reports . The solution caters for several thousand users and  33 different medical fields.

Following its beta deployment in 2014/5 the system registered positive results in the documentation of knowledge and best practices, academic development tracking, reflective practice, performance evaluation and quality assurance.

The solution’s front-end is critical to the system’s take-up as there is a known correlation between UI and utilisation by medical students. As a result the system boasts responsive design and a dynamic, fast-loading site structure. The solution boats high page-type reusability, customisable CMS content through WYSIWIG editors and SEO-friendly page hierarchies. The e-portfolio solution relies on a centralised authentication, authorisation and user-management engine which securely manages the identification of system users and their relative permissions. All reports are presented through aesthetically-pleasing dashboards which are user-configurable. Full social media integration is a baseline function which ensures maximum exposure for the trainees should they wish to opt for such.

A number of security measures (including several OWASP Security guides) were integrated in the system’s workflow to ensure that the data contained by the system is impregnable. ICON further manages the process relating to ongoing quality assurance, training, 24/7 support and preventive maintenance. The system is deployed on the Government of Malta’s Private Runtime Environment.

eporftoflo2Outcome:

The e-Portfolio application was beta-launched by the Malta Postgraduate Medical Training Centre in 2014 with around 200 active users and officially released in 2015. It now provides an advanced electronic portfolio for use by trainees and trainers in postgraduate medical training in Malta. This project, which was partly funded by the EU through the European Social Fund, provides a dynamic educational tool which places the trainees at the centre of the learning experience.

The e-Portfolio records and facilitates the management of both clinical as well as personal development through learning and helping trainees record the progressive achievement of competences. It gives users a real-time picture of the trainee’s progression both on an individual basis as well as by medical speciality.

This is an innovative application of the e-Portfolio model since it caters for all medical specialities integrated within one system and not just for individual competences as is the case in most other European countries. By improving the training quality and providing a means of reflection and social construction for trainees it also contributes directly towards an increase in overall patient safety and advancement of the medical profession.

Due to its success, the e-Portfolio benefitted from a second round of EU funding in 2015 which is dedicated to specific functional improvements and iterations.

Commenting on the solution developed by ICON at its inaugural launch, the Hon. Dr. Chris Fearne MP (Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Government of Malta) stated:  “the e-Portfolio presents a formidable tool to assist Malta’s growth in the health sector.”

Read more about the ePortfiolo by clicking here.

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