March 2018 Blog : Discovering Virtual Outcomes

Discovering Virtual Outcomes

I’m delighted to announce that all community pharmacies in Derbyshire now have access to a FREE online training course designed to support NHS Public Health Campaigns, Healthy Living Pharmacy Champions and pharmacy teams in delivering public health messages. It’s called Virtual Outcomes and is full of practical help, tips and links to supporting resources.

The idea is that it will offer pharmacy staff an overview of key public health messages, insight into the problem and assist them in raising awareness in a bid to improve patient outcomes.

NHS England North Midlands has provided the funding for the training in order to help develop our Healthy Living Pharmacies and the courses are open to all Derbyshire contractors and their teams.  The resource will hopefully assist Health Champions and help them when talking to patients about health issues or give ideas for health promotion zones.

There’s plenty of content already on the website and on the first of every month a new course will be available. There’s also a helpful training calendar with links to courses and event flyers, which can be used to plan training and events. Previous courses are listed and can be accessed at any time if there’s a particular local health issue that you would like to address; for example, smoking cessation, bowel cancer, etc…

The training can be accessed at work or at home via a PC, tablet or mobile device. All you and your team need to access the training is your OCS Code for your pharmacy. Go to the website, enter the code, confirm the address of your pharmacy, choose your training (e.g. Pharmacy Team Training) and select the course from the list. Once the course is selected you will be asked to register your details and submit them. You will then be able to start the course.

The courses take between 15 and 25 minutes to complete and there is no limit on the number of staff who can access the training from your pharmacy. At the end of the online tutorial there are some multiple-choice questions to answer. If the pass mark, or better, is achieved you will get an “Online Training Certificate” and this can be used to evidence staff training for HLP status or for GPhC inspections.

For each course there are resources available to support the learning and to provide opportunities for accessing promotional materials that could be used in health promotion zones (HPZs). Making full use of the training and the resources will help with ideas to create impactful HPZs to attract patient attention. The more team members who complete the training the better, as everybody will be able to respond to queries or proactively engage patients in conversations around the chosen health topic.

So, how easy is it to undertake the training? Well, in the interest of research I did the “Smoking” course as its “No Smoking Day” on 13 March. The video was interesting and had a lot of facts about smoking prevalence, the morbidity associated with smoking, the benefits of giving up smoking and how to support patients in making informed choices about what products would help them quit. I found the latter particularly helpful, as there were some really practical hints and tips that could easily be given to patients about how to use these products.

I found the ‘pace’ of the video a little too fast, but it was easy to pause and rewind if you thought you might have missed something important or didn’t quite ‘get it.’ Anyway, I did the multiple-choice questions and I’m now the proud owner of a newly printed “Online Training Certificate”. Fortunately, it doesn’t show the actual pass mark, but you can always do the questions again if you don’t pass or wish to achieve that elusive 100%…

The web links with the “Smoking” course were for national charities or for websites where you could get additional information about the subject (e.g. NHS Choices, Smoking in Pregnancy, etc.). The charities listed were comprehensive and offered access to leaflets and posters which supported the required ‘angle’ to take to promote your specific focus. For example, you might want to focus on smoking and cancer (Cancer Research UK) or smoking and cardiovascular disease (British Heart Foundation).

HLPs are a great way of getting involved with your local community. By highlighting public health issues you will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with patients and make a difference to their long-term health and wellbeing. By doing the training it’s virtually certain you will improve outcomes!