It was over a year ago that I received a telephone call from a Professor Jo Martin who is the National Clinical Director of Pathology NHS England, Professor of Pathology, Queen Mary University of London and the Director of Academic Health Sciences, Barts Health NHS Trust.She wanted to know if the society would work along with her department to develop a downloadable app that doctors can use to complete a training module on the new Guidelines on B12 and Folate. Naturally I agreed and we started to think of what would go into the module. It was anticipated that the app would take a few years to develop. Well, on Wednesday I was told over the telephone that the app was ready. This was remarkable news and I asked if it was possible that it could be made available by Saturday so that I could inform the members of the society at the AGM that was taking place in Birmingham. Prof Martin assured me that it would be. Just as we were setting up my presentation at the hotel where the conference was to take place I received an email telling me that the app was now uploaded and available.
This is a terrific piece of news as it addresses the problem of doctors not reading the new guidelines which are so useful as they address the problems with the current test. Now you might ask yourself why doctors aren’t reading the new guidelines. There are two reasons. Firstly there is a plethora of guidelines that are issued annually and doctors simply don’t have the time to read every one.
Secondly, whilst the new guidelines on B12 and Folate are comprehensive they are consequently lengthy which makes them less than appealing to busy doctors. What was needed then was a compact test that would address the key points of the guide available in a downloadable form and, just for good measure, a carrot in the form of a credit that doctors can use to contribute to their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) portfolio.
And it’s live. I’ve just completed it. A series of ten questions that I sailed through – or so I thought.
At the end of the test I was told that I had failed, but only on one question.
Want to take it? Well you will first have to download the software. This is how to go about it and this is what you can tell your doctor to do if he or she would like to attempt it – please be diplomatic when suggesting this!
You should be directed to this logo:
Download the app (you will need an android operating system)
Now you will need to register. It will first ask you for your First Name, Last Name, Email and a mentor email. Just choose one of your other email addresses or a family member. The mentor email is only if you want the results of the test sent to your mentor. You might not have a mentor but your doctor may well have one.
You are then asked for a password and asked to confirm the password.
Next it asks who you are from a number of drop-down boxes. One of the options is ‘patient’.
Next you are asked about your organisation and one of the options is Pernicious Anaemia Society – use that if you are a member.
Finally it asks for your ‘interests’ – I chose Skill Set – quality improvement’ which seems a safe bet because I assume that the website will produce statistics that will look at how many haematologists or surgeons have used the site so it’s best to stay away from all of the other medical disciplines listed.
And then you’re in! You’ll find yourself on the ‘Priority Learning’ page but just use the search function to type in ‘B12 and Folate’ and you should be at the start of the test. You are given the option to be directed to the BCSH website where you can read the full guidelines which is what most medical professionals will do before starting the test.
There are ten questions in the test which could prove tricky if the person taking it hasn’t read the new guidelines which is the whole point of the exercise really. Good luck! Oh, and the question I got wrong – the one about mouth ulcers if you must know.