Clinical Academic Training

Medical Education

Optimising comprehension and communication in education and clinical environments 

  • Sarah White
  • Harvinder Singh
  • Liz Anderson
  • Bob Norman

The ACF will study within a vibrant inter-disciplinary research team, working with experienced MSc and PhD supervisors with expertise in cognitive science, health sciences and medical education, benefiting from bespoke research training across these disciplines. The project has two parallel research strands, examining crucial issues related to comprehension and communication in clinical contexts: 

  • Quantitative empirical project, examining how reading under time pressure affects processing of medical text, and especially how this might lead to poor comprehension (and errors) in clinical environments and medical education. Eye movement recording methods will provide insight into what is processed when (e.g. White et al., 2015, 2017), enabling insights into how to optimise comprehension. The research will build on a current ESRC project on reading strategies
  • Qualitative project examining communication in difficult situations. Many patient complaints are made each day and many are due to poor communication during difficult conversations. The ACF will join an Orthopaedics department very active in research, recruiting for a number of NIHR portfolio studies (Professor Singh is co-applicant on the NIHR HUSH project. The ACF will lead discussions within established departmental mortality and morbidity meetings where difficult patient communication incidents have led to a poor patient experience. The ACF will draw together ideas for how these incidents could have been prevented and the key learning points for better communication. The project will contribute to a change in culture both locally and more widely through dissemination of findings. 

Back to top