Professor Steel and his team have developed an innovative new eLearning resource called GoalPlan, a new way for doctors and patients to learn about goal-setting in multimorbidity to prioritise patient care. 

According to a recent feasibility study, establishing patient goals is widely recommended as a way to deliver care that matters to the individual patient with multimorbidity (individuals with multiple chronic conditions), who may not be well served by single-disease guidelines. Though multimorbidity is now normal in general practice, little is known about how doctors and patients should set goals together.

Findings from the feasibility study showed that goal setting required time and energy from both parties and worked best when GP and patients were prepared in advance.  This led to the project team developing the eLearning resource GoalPlan.  The online training course encourages GPs to put Goal Setting principles into practice as part of embedded learning.

This will help meet the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) guidelines on multimorbidity recommendations to establish patient goals, values and priorities; the module also speaks directly to key NHS priorities of self-management and patient activation.

Putting goal setting principles into practice has many benefits, including:

  • Better care at point of consultations with GPs and Consultants potentially leading to increased motivation of the service users (patients) and improved quality of life;
  • Reduction of polypharmacy, adverse treatment effects and hospital treatments through enhancing self-efficacy and self-management by the service users.

Targeted at GPs, the module has been granted accreditation from the Royal College of General Practitioners.  The MOOC course was launched to the general public on FutureLearn in November.

Going forward, there is also potential to create specialized courses for the secondary care sector (possible specialty areas could include geriatrics or mental health).

The course is delivered by online provider FutureLearn.  The first cohort of the course ran during November 2019 and proved successful, with over 170 registrations, a very high level of active learners at 62%, and good interaction during the course

The course dates for 2020 will be set in the new year.

This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England Programme. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

The training module is based on findings based on findings from the feasibility study: Setting goals with patients living with multimorbidity: qualitative analysis of general practice consultations.

The overview paper of this study is available here.

Upcoming Plans

  1. Establish dates for the course to be delivered regularly on FutureLearn
  2. Maintain existing high level of course facilitation from active GPs
  3. Develop the course for other clinical audiences beyond general practitioners.