“I think it’s a lot harder” – fundamentals for developing a core curriculum in telecommunication and teleconsultation in undergraduate medical education in the UK

  • Lisa Wetzlmair

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


Telehealth has become increasingly important in modern healthcare systems, as remote communication with colleagues (i.e. telecommunication) and remote consultations with patients (i.e. teleconsultations) increased in the last decades. The workforce should be prepared for working in digitised healthcare systems which demand different skills, competencies, and attitudes. A systematic literature review has shown limited evidence-informed training regarding telecommunication and teleconsultation (TC) at undergraduate level. These results led to the aim of this PhD study: exploring factors that can inform a core curriculum on TC in UK undergraduate medical education.
An additional coverage mixed-methods design was conducted, utilising an online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Medical educators and undergraduate medical students in the UK were invited to participate in this study. The development of the questionnaire was based on the Technology Acceptance Model and the results of a test-retest cycle. Quantitative data was analysed descriptively, and qualitative data was analysed inductively and deductively using thematic analysis.
Results indicated that most students and educators have had experiences with TC during the pandemic. Medical schools adapted their curriculum quickly, yet most study participants could not report on the formalities and content of teaching taking place in academic learning environments. The opinions on TC were mixed but students as well as educators think that it requires efficacious triaging systems and different communication skills.
Globally, healthcare systems are increasing the use of telehealth. It is essential to prepare the future workforce for those changes. This study contributed to building the foundation for the development of a TC core curriculum in UK undergraduate medical education.
Date of Award16 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorVeronica O'Carroll (Supervisor) & Andrew Stephen O'Malley (Supervisor)


  • Telehealth
  • Medical education
  • Teleconsultation
  • Mixed methods

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 9 May 2028

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