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IOE Learning Technologies Unit


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UCL Knowledge Lab Seminar Series: Development and evaluation of eCREST: an online resource for future doctors

By Eileen Kennedy, on 8 January 2020

A leading cause of missed diagnostic opportunities in healthcare relates to difficulties with clinical reasoning. Dr R Plackett and Dr J Sheringham present eCREST – an online patient simulation resource designed to address challenges in equipping future doctors with the necessary skills to make appropriate clinical decisions.

Event Information


Large Seminar Room
UCL Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald Street

Clinical Reasoning

There are difficulties with clinical reasoning. The thought processes required to identify likely diagnosis in physicians are a leading cause of missed diagnostic opportunities in healthcare.

To reduce diagnostic delays, the Institute of Medicine recommends improving the teaching of clinical reasoning which should start in medical school, to equip future doctors with the skills necessary to make appropriate clinical decisions.

Clinical reasoning teaching in medical schools relies on exposure to real patients, for example during clinical placements. Organising learning with real patients is time and resource-intensive. Therefore, the range of cases students encounter during clinical placement is:

  • unpredictable
  • quality of supervision and,
  • feedback may vary.


Angelos Kassianos, Ruth Plackett and Jessica Sheringham were funded by NIHR’s Policy Research Unit for Cancer Awareness, Screening and Early Diagnosis and The Health Foundation to develop an online patient simulation resource for medical students to teach clinical reasoning.

It’s targeted at final-year medical students in UK medical schools, was co-developed with:

  • doctors-in-training
  • medical students
  • medical educators
  • experts in diagnostics
  • respiratory health
  • primary care and,
  • cancer.

This talk will focus on presenting the tool and its development, sharing headlines from a recent evaluation with medical students and ongoing work with tutors and learners from other healthcare professions.

About the Speakers

Dr Ruth Plackett

Research Fellow in the Department of Behavioural Science and Health at UCL

Ruth has a background in psychology. Her research interests are in using digital technologies to enable behaviour change to improve health and health services. As part of her Improvement Science PhD funded by The Health Foundation, she evaluated online learning and patient simulation approaches to support the teaching of reasoning and decision-making skills to future doctors.

More about Dr Ruth Plackett

Dr Jessica Sheringham

Honorary Consultant in public health at Public Health England and Senior Research Fellow at UCL

Jessica works with a wide range of NHS and public health partners to develop research of importance to population health. Before her research career she worked in the NHS, healthcare regulation, and policy, at the Department of Health. Jessica also has a longstanding commitment to education and is particularly interested in innovations and online methods of delivery.

More about Dr Jessica Sheringham

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