The Development and Introduction of a National e

The Development and Introduction of a National e-learning Programme and National Vital
Observation Chart to Support the Implementation of a National Early Warning Score
Durham L, Blackwell N, Binks R, Bell D, Smith M, Williams B, 2015
Early detection, timeliness and competence of clinical response are a triad of determinants
of clinical outcome in people with acute illness. In 2012 the Royal College of Physicians 1
published the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) (UK) with the aim of standardising the
response to, assessment of and, monitoring and treatment in the acutely ill. A supportive
educational package and standardised vital signs observation chart was considered to be
essential for dissemination, learning and national uptake.
To develop a national standardised NEWS chart and a free web-based e-learning
programme, to support the dissemination and learning for all staff in the use of the NEWS
observation charts and scoring system.
A small multi-professional subgroup of experts from the working party2 was commissioned
to design a NEWS observation chart and develop the NEWS e-learning programme.
Certification of achievement was integral to the programme.
The NEWS e-learning module was developed through iterative instructional design and
collaboration between the multi-professional subgroup, educational technologists and endusers. The e-learning was created in both HTML 5 and Flash formats to ensure compatibility
with NHS systems and then distributed through a dedicated, standalone learning
management system.
The final iterations were publicised widely by the sub-group members and their constituent
professional bodies and organisations to encourage uptake.
To date, 64,464 learners have undertaken either version 1 or 2 of the NEWS e-learning
package, with 49,431 successfully completing the training. The completion rate for version 1
is 63%, for version 2 is 80% (Table 1).
Final 08 03 2015
Table 1
Learners (V2)
Completions (V2)
Learners All
Completed All
Uptake of the e-learning programme reinforces the view that this initiative has strongly
supported the dissemination and learning for all staff in the use of the NEWS observation
charts and scoring system in the UK. Key to its success is the relevant case-based content;
free and easy web-based access and instant certification of successful completion, aligned
to an iterative design model, as born out by the significant increase in completion rates
between version 1 and version 2.
Version 3, which includes case studies for primary, community, metal health and prehospital care, is about to go live.
1. Royal College of Physicians. National Early Warning Score (NEWS :) Standardising the
Assessment of Acute Illness Severity in the NHS. Report of a working party. London: RCP,
2. NEWS Educational Sub-Group: Royal College of Physicians, National Outreach Forum, Royal
College of Nursing, OCB Media, NHS Training for Innovation.
Final 08 03 2015