Doctor computer systemUniversity of Leicester’s Medical School is putting online consultation at the heart of its teaching curriculum for first year medical students – a first for any university in the UK.

From early October, the University’s Department of Medical Education will be teaching all its first year students how to hold online consultations using Patients Know Best, the world’s first fully patient-controlled online medical records system.

According to, 176 of the University of Leicester’s students of Medicine will be taught how to hold consultations online with 'virtual patients' – ordinary people who will simulate live consultation scenarios with the students.

Dr. Ron Hsu, Innovation Lead and Senior Teaching Fellow at the Medical School said: “We see that technologies, such as Patients Know Best, that enable online consultation with patients are going to play an ever increasing role in the careers of doctors. GPs and specialists alike are going to need to know how to communicate and interact with patients using these technologies. Our hope is that by putting online consultation early in our undergraduate teaching, we will not only prepare our students for the future but help them improve the level of care they provide patients.”

The project will be closely evaluated by the University and medical students will develop a range of online consulting skills. For example, they will be taught how to garner information from patients online, how to deal with complex medical cases, how to respond to questions and follow-ups and what type of online consultation methods to choose. The University will be closely monitoring the language that junior doctors use in their online communications as this must be appropriate for a clinical setting.

Dr. Mohammad Al’Ubaydli, founder and CEO of Patients Know Best said: "The biggest barrier to doctors conducting online consultations is that no-one taught them how to do so. Leicester's approach is world pioneering and we are proud to make Patients Know Best available to help train its students. Together we will create a curriculum and make it available to other medical schools through an open access licence."