Screening: Health Knowledge Interactive Learning Module

For those preparing for the FPH Part A exams, I strongly advise having a look around the Health Knowledge website.  It has pretty much *everything* we’ll need, including the ‘public health textbook’ (which correlates identically to the Part A syllabus) as well as a variety of self-taught modules.  There are plenty of further resources and it’s also user friendly.  Thumbs up from me!

Today, I thought I would re-familiarise myself with screening via the interactive module.

Chapters 1-5 cover the basic concepts, which is a bit simplistic if you’ve studied screening during a masters.  Chapters 6-8 I found interesting practical exercises and tips of how to apply knowledge and use public health skills (such as commissioning and working with media) and chapter 9 was an interview with Muir Grey where he described the changes and improvements made to screening programmes in the UK since the 70s.  Overall, quite a time-consuming unit!  A good overview, but feel I probably need to make notes explicitly related to the syllabus points to obtain the level of knowledge needed to survive a Part A question on screening.

What was refreshing however, was the practical element of this module.  Compared to the academic learning environment which prioritises test accuracy, today I learnt about the new (to me) concept of programme accuracy.  The main point to learn being a screening tool/test is only as good as the programme it is set in.  You may have a very accurate test, but if attention is not paid to training of staff who obtain the sample, communication between different agencies (such as labs, primary care…etc) is inadequate, and failsafe systems are not enforced, at best a screening programme is ineffective and at worst a serious incident (SI) can occur.

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