The Health Education Thames Valley (HETV) Ophthalmology training programme holds compulsory weekly afternoon teaching sessions in Oxford. Traditionally, trainees travelled considerable distances to attend this teaching. Commuting is a known stress factor and car use has environmental, monetary and health costs. To reduce trainee costs, travelling time and improve teaching experience, we introduced an interactive and live video link across HETV. Teaching sessions were broadcast live using free videolink software between 3 sites. New hardware cost £200 per site. Attendees completed weekly feedback questionnaires on the videolink over 9 months. Over this period, the deanery had 22 trainees with 12 working outside Oxford. Projected annual travel savings were calculated. On average 10.8 trainees (49.1%) completed weekly questionnaires: 5.1 (range:3–8) were trainees working outside Oxford and 5.6 trainees (range 3–10) working in Oxford. Attendee responses showed on average: 78.6% learnt as much as attending in person; 91.17% felt interaction through the videolink was adequate; and 94.6% remained keen on telecommuting. Of the trainees in Oxford, 26.5% felt that the videolink interfered with the teaching session. The average videolink quality rating was 3.73 (1:poor; 5:excellent). Annually, the videolink will save each trainee working outside Oxford an average of 2120 kilometres in travel and £594 in expenses. Most attendees felt the videolink was a valuable tool in delivering teaching sessions. It eliminates unnecessary journeys and travel related stress. Within HETV, a £600 initial investment for new hardware would save trainees approximately £7128 annually. There is potential in expanding the role of the videolink to allow guest speakers worldwide to easily contribute to teaching sessions, eliminating unnecessary travel. This model could be adapted to postgraduate training programmes nationally to improve trainee wellbeing by reducing travelling time and costs.
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Contributors MS and CKP made substantial contributions to the conception of this work. MS and DJ made substantial contributions to the acquisition of data for this work. MS, KA and DJ made substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data for this work. All authors were involved in drafting and critically revising the manuscript for important intellectual content and provided final approval of the version to be published. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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