The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) chooses Fry as their partner to enable them to run completely paperless international MRCGP clinical skills exams

Founded in 1952, The Royal College of General Practitioners is the professional body for General Practitioners in the UK. It is the largest of the medical Royal Colleges. The RCGP represents and supports GPs on key issues such as licensing, education, training, research and clinical standards.

The Client Problem

The RCGP holds practical clinical assessment exams four times a year. The exams are designed to assess a doctor’s ability to integrate and apply appropriate clinical, professional, communication and practical skills in General Practice. During these exams, each candidate undertakes 13 simulated consultations (each lasting 10 minutes) with a trained role player who plays the role of the patient. A trained examiner sits in the background and observes the consultations and marks the candidate on their data gathering, technical and clinical assessment, clinical management and interpersonal skills. Candidates are then provided with detailed feedback after the assessment.

Pre-Fry these exams were paper based. This resulted in large amounts of administration and staff time, sizeable quantities of paper and extensive photocopying. In addition, assessment day sometimes proved stressful for those managing it, particularly if last minute changes had to be made to the paper work. What’s more, marking and feedback were time-consuming and called for significant human input to ensure consistency and deliver fast and effective feedback to candidates.

The RCGP were aware that there were opportunities to benefit from significant efficiencies and improvements by automating the process.

The Options

The options open to the RCGP were:

1. Do nothing and stick with the paper-heavy and people-heavy system.

2. Pull together a combination of other system options and paper.

3. Build a solution in-house.

4. Identify a specialist supplier to build the perfect solution.

The Fry Solution

RCGP investigated these 4 solutions and fortunately for Fry, it was to us that they looked for their ultimate solution because the others didn’t fulfil their needs in the same way. In order to relieve the RCGP of the issues they were facing, Fry proposed and produced an easy to use, reliable paperless exam system to replace the paper-heavy and people-heavy system previously used by the RCGP in their clinical skills assessments. The Fry solution is a simple to use and effective tool whereby both the examiner and the person being examined gain access using an iPad (the RCGP use iPads but the system can easily be adapted for use on other electronic devices).

The introduction of the Fry solution means that the administration for the entire examination process is simplified and calls for minimum effort, resulting in significant time savings. The system enables the examining body to easily handle co-ordination, administration and scheduling for examiners, role players and candidates as well as case and station assignment, curriculum, question bank, standard setting and candidate feedback.

What’s more, the Fry solution facilitates easy, accurate and consistent marking by examiners. Candidates are able to effortlessly view case notes and examiners can reveal additional information (for example blood test results) if and when required. The system has the capability for extensive reporting so that the examining body can track results and manage statistics using a range of different criteria as desired.

In summary, this system ensures the smooth running of the examination and provides support throughout the whole process, from beginning to end.

The Fry solution at a glance

We are proud to say that this system, since going live in May 2013 has now enabled the seamless processing of several thousand candidates. Here are just some of the advantages and benefits that the RCGP have already enjoyed and continue to enjoy to this day:

• Significant short and long-term cost savings.

• An intuitive, easy to use and flexible system that requires little examiner training and enables students to get started straight away.

• Rapid feedback for requests for information from students during the assessment.

• Increased flexibility with respect to location, timing and making last minute changes to examination questions.

• Greater storage efficiency and storage cost reductions. Tens of thousands of papers, questions and answers etc can be stored on a server compared to the physical space required for paper.

• Facility to introduce enhanced question styles incorporating interactivity and multimedia.

• Easy, fast feedback for exam candidates.

• Reduced risk

What the client has to say

“Fry’s software offers a very effective means for delivery of our MRCGP Clinical Skills Assessment, which is taken annually by some 4,000 GP specialty trainees”.

“This system’s flexible functionality provides us with solutions for case-banking, candidate and examiner scheduling, examination timetabling, circuit management, document display, electronic marking and automated standard-setting”.

“The system has led to a substantial reduction in the administrative burden associated with examination preparation coupled with significant savings in resources, and it’s hard to envisage staging the CSA now without this system”.