Welsh Company Offers Free COVID-19 Drug Dosage Calculation Training to NHS

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A healthcare professional-led MedTech business that designs cutting-edge online courses for the healthcare community has committed to supporting the global fight against COVID-19.

Authentic World Ltd, based at Cardiff Medicentre, has made its safeMedicate Future Nurse Suite (FNS) of programs on drug dosage calculation available without charge to NHS healthcare professionals, care home staff and the international healthcare community during the coronavirus pandemic. The team believes that helping healthcare colleagues quickly update and broaden their competence will contribute to easing pressures on healthcare environments in the UK and further afield.

The safeMedicate FNS programs have been available commercially since 2019. With the addition of a specific COVID-19 module, they have been free to frontline workers since the pandemic took hold.

Authentic World Ltd is a spinout company of Cardiff University and the University of South Wales.  Co-founded in 2004 by Professor Keith Weeks and Norman Woolley, it's work is based on Professor Weeks’ ground-breaking research on developing a virtual clinical environment for teaching drug dosage calculations.

Professor Weeks said,

“Drug dosage calculations have traditionally been taught in classrooms using ‘chalk and talk’ methods. That style of teaching uses word-based problems and does not fit with the key features of healthcare mathematics used by healthcare professionals in the 21st century.

“My idea was to develop an education environment that captures the reality of drug dosage calculation practice and recreates it in an online world. Our safeMedicate  programs use immersive computer technology to simulate real-world clinical conditions. When they’re in safeMedicate, healthcare professionals and students use information from simulated patients’ medical and prescription charts, drug ampoule labels and drug monographs.

“They get to carry out drug dose calculations, and use ‘virtual’ syringes and intravenous pumps like the ones used to measure and give drugs to patients in real life. The learning and assessment is realistic, visual and interactive, and better represents the rigorous competency requirements that are the hallmark of modern healthcare practice.”

The safeMedicate COVID-19 module, which launched in April 2020, was designed and developed by Professor Weeks, Norman Woolley and Alex Weeks (Authentic World’s mathematics modelling specialist) together with Dr Ray Higginson and Professor David Pontin from the University of South Wales. It focuses on drugs used to treat life-threatening COVID-19 related illnesses like pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). As the pandemic is fast-moving, the company continues to add new drug dosage calculation updates as new treatments emerge.

Norman Woolley said,

“With COVID-19, there has been an ‘all hands on deck’ call-out to retired doctors and nurses, and to students just about to qualify. Nurses and other healthcare professionals have been asked to work in new departments and transfer from wards to critical care settings.

“Having an agile healthcare community that can quickly step up to meet urgent need is going to be very important as we continue to fight COVID-19 and tackle future health emergencies. We believe our innovation has a huge role to play in helping frontline workers have the confidence to work safely in any situation.”

Authentic World’s safeMedicate programs are used by over 80% of UK universities that train nursing and other healthcare professionals and by more than 330,000 healthcare professionals in 12 countries including the US, Canada, Australasia and Switzerland. More than 4.6 million safeMedicate assessments have been undertaken across the globe, and the company’s long-term commercial plan is to further grow its share of the international online education market. But for now, focus is on helping frontline staff in the UK and internationally update their drug dosage calculation skills quickly and easily.

The company has worked closely with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to make its modules available to NHS Wales staff. There are similar arrangements with healthcare professionals in NHS England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as North America and Australasia through international business relationships.

Professor Weeks said,

“Our safeMedicate programs have been extremely well received by clinical and education organisations, and by healthcare professionals and students.  COVID-19 is unlikely to be the last global health crisis we’ll experience. We see safeMedicate as a vital tool in helping healthcare professionals be ready and able to adapt rapidly as future challenges emerge.”

New drug dosage calculation modules are in the pipeline and the Authentic World team has plans to expand in its Cardiff Medicentre home where it has been based since 2005.

Norman Woolley said,

“The Medicentre team has given us exceptional support over the years. It has been an ideal base to operate from, both in the early days and now as an established business.  As a successful MedTech and BioTech incubator, it offers the perfect environment for young businesses to develop their research and convert ideas into products that stand to have hugely positive effects on people’s lives.”