Implementation plan of tele-mentoring pilots

The project partners agreed on the activities with following specific goals:

  • Implement tele-mentoring tools supporting continuing medical education (CME) in remote primary care.
  • Implement tele-mentoring as innovative solution for career development and continuing professional development (CPD) of younger health professionals in remote primary care. Counteract professional isolation through tele-mentoring in rural areas.
  • Prepare the durability and large scale implementation of the piloted solutions in the partner regions.
  • With the current implementation plan for the five tele-mentoring pilot sites, the aim is to carry out tele-mentoring study processes in the four partner countries Belarus, Estonia, Finland and Lithuania.
  • In each country the study coordinators carried out an HCP selection, recruitment to the study and pilot site preparation that included tele-mentoring environment and hardware selection. For the measurements of the effects of tele-mentoring information technology tools (e.g. the application of computers and telecommunications equipment) the survey instruments and indicators were prepared.

The pilots are implemented as follows:

Belarus: Belorussian Medical Academy of Post-Graduate Education (BelMAPO) and Ostrovets Central Regional Hospital
Tele-mentoring will be carried out between a specialist (Mentor) of BelMAPO and PHC (Primary Health Care ) specialist of OCRH and 4 hospital-based outpatient clinics affiliated to it (Mentees), which are located in rural areas and considered to be professionally isolated.
BelMAPO is able to provide training on 76 medical specialties at 4 faculties based on tele-consultations and tele-conferences. Within PrimCareIT project it is planned to use the experience of General Medical Practice and Public Health and Healthcare departments of BelMAPO to carry out tele-mentoring of OCRH 70 doctors and 8 GPs of OCRH hospital-based outpatient clinics. By means of modern IT equipment, solutions and well-qualified specialists BelMAPO the institution will organize high-quality training of the specialists from distant rural areas. IT support is organized by the IT Center of BelMAPO.
Contact: Irina Moroz

Estonia: Estonian Society of Family Doctors (ESFD)
The tele-mentoring pilot will be carried out by the ESFD that is a primary care doctors' association and covers most of the GPs in Estonia and is responsible for recertification of the profession.
Pilot is running in two centers of General Medical Practice or so called outpatient clinics that are at least more than 40 km away from the main hospitals in Estonia. In each General Medical Practice there are 2 HCPs. Pilot mentoring program involves 8 GPs.
Study workflow starts form the selection process that involves novice GPs for the tele-mentoring piloting and mentors who are experts in the field of primary care.
Next phase the agreement for piloting activities is made with the recruited members. It will be followed by the tele-mentoring tools probing and testing.
Tele-mentoring in the pilot will be used peer to peer tutoring through Skype (whiteboard, desktop sharing) and self-learning through eLearning environment Svoog and Moodle LMS, mail, forum and PDP/ CPD calendar. Through the Svoog, forum, participants will be able to ask questions, answer questions, make comments, and express concerns or feelings to other young GPs, mentors, the researcher, a university professor, and/or co-ordinators of the mentoring program and make improvements.
Contact: Eret Jaanson, Kristjan Krass

Finland: Kauhava Primary Health Care District (KPHCD)
KPHCD is located in South Ostrobothnia Region in the Western part of Finland. KPHCD is a primary health care district formed in 2007 between three municipalities; Kauhava, Lappajärvi and Evijärvi.
Finnish pilots' co-ordinators will form the work-group that is consisting of 1-2 members from each three organisations. A work group will investigate which method is most suitable for tele-mentoring in the pilot site; especially national data security legislation needs to be taken into account in addition to peer-to-peer tele-mentoring also professional Skype connection.

Tele-mentoring will be used in pilot inside KPHCD and their 6 units from peer to peer, and in pilot. Participants in the pilot #3 are medical professional (3-10 doctors, as well as nurses and other health care professionals) in 6 health care centres in KPHCD area.
Contact: Raimo Rintala

Finland: South Ostrobothnia Health Care District and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences
The three participating organizations are located in South Ostrobothnia Region in the Western part of Finland. Kauhava Primary Health Care District (KPHCD) is a primary health care district formed in 2007 between three municipalities; Kauhava, Lappajärvi and Evijärvi. Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (Seamk) is a multidisciplinary institution of higher education, and efficient actor in education and research, development and innovation (RDI) in the Region of South Ostrobothnia in West Finland. South Ostrobothnia Health Care District (SOHCD) is a regional secondary health care organization consisting of 20 municipalities.
The tele-mentoring pilot will take place in co-operation between these three organizations. The mentor (registered nurse) in pilot #4 is from the hygiene unit of Seinäjoki Central Hospital, and mentees will be ten nurses from the KPHCD. The mentoring nurse also works as a regional hygiene nurse.
In the pilot , a Moodle-platform will be set up as a base for different learning materials for nurses who are participating in the pilot. It will also serve as a discussion forum to share participants' experiences. Moodle offers possibilities to adapt new tools such as calendar or chat box, during the pilot, if need occurs.
Pilot testing in KPHCD, SEAMK and SOHCD will be done during December 2012. Pilot devices are LifeSize and Polycom videoconferencing equipment, iPad tablets (Skype etc.) and Moodle environment.
Contact: Kristiina Vaahtera, Sami Perälä

Vilnius: University Hospital Santariškių Klinikos
The study will enroll experienced health care professionals and/or specialist doctors working in the Family Medicine Centre of VUHSK (Mentor centre) and younger and presumably less experienced physicians and medical nurses (Mentees) working in remote primary health care clinics (Neringa PHC (350 km. from Vilnius and 250 km from Kaunas) and Druskininkai PHC (120 km. from Vilnius and 140 from Kaunas)). Tele-mentoring technical support and environment will be provided by LUHS (Tele-mentoring technical centre). Distance from Vilnius and Kaunas is nearly 100 km.
Study design will be used with tele-mentoring intervention only group. Pre and post study with six month follow-up period. Study will allow evaluating the acceptance and benefits of distant education in primary health care involving the health care professionals working in remote areas and presumably feeling professionally isolated.
Contact: Vytautas Kasiulevicius

The pilot implementation objectives are:

  • To provide a basic understanding of key principles and terminology;
  • To define a study design;
  • To develop and define indicators;
  • To describe standard methods for tele-mentoring
  • To define the steps for setting up tele-mentoring systems;
  • To analyse and present tele-mentoring information

For more information, contact Kristjan Krass, Estonian Society of Family Doctors, Estonia