GCU supports Scotland's telehealthcare priorities with new MSc

15 April 2013

GCU supports Scotland

GCU launches new MSc Telehealthcare for professionals

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is responding to the developing world of digital healthcare through actively embedding telehealthcare within the undergraduate curricula across practice fields, developing a research portfolio commensurate with national strategy, and launching a new, unique MSc in Telehealthcare.

The MSc Telehealthcare programme is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of people working in a diversity of disciplines and settings. It offers students the opportunity to extend their knowledge, skills and understanding of e-health and telehealthcare within their own area of practice. The programme will provide students with a research-based understanding of telehealthcare as a global phenomenon with the potential to transform the delivery of health and social care to meet the socio-demographic challenges of the 21st Century. The programme is highly innovative and offers opportunities to critically examine emerging theories exploring the implementation, embedding and integration of new technologies and practices. It will also provide the advanced knowledge and leadership skills essential to facilitating culture change and service improvements.

Students can opt to combine the specialist telehealthcare modules with modules from their own discipline to ensure flexibility. This will maximise occupational / professional relevance to individuals whilst providing essential staff development outcomes for employers. 

The programme has been developed by Ron Johansen.  Ron holds a joint appointment with GCU’s Department of Health and Community Sciences and NHS 24, Scotland's national telehealth and telecare organisation, where he is a nurse consultant.  NHS 24 which incorporates the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT) is the first point of contact for people who need urgent medical attention, advice or information outside normal surgery hours.  It can be accessed over the telephone, online or through digital television channels.

The Scottish Government has published ‘A National Telehealth and Telecare Delivery Plan for Scotland to 2015’ aimed at driving improvement, integration and innovation.  However, there are challenges to embedding technological advancements within our health and social care environments which require identification in order to maximise benefits and impacts. The action plan states that it is vital that people are comfortable and confident in using digital technologies which can enable them to become more directly involved in the design and management of their own health, care and wellbeing.

Health and social care staff are positioned at an axis point between technology, individuals, clinical environments and communities. Ron Johansen is interested in the ways in which education can support staff in taking a primary role in interpreting and influencing the relationships between technology, social and health care praxis and human experience. 

He says: “Developments in telehealth and telecare are emerging rapidly impacting on people and organisations across every sector and at every level. As a consequence, the phenomena professionals are concerned with investigating are multifaceted and push the boundaries of academic enquiry. Our graduates need to be confident in using mixed methodologies to produce different levels and types of explanations, judging evidence in context from diverse sources without abandoning rigour.  My post is about embedding telehealthcare into the curricula and promoting this level of inquiry.”

More about the programme