We teach, we facilitate, we coach. But whose responsibility is it to make learning effective?

We recently held a small workshop with a burning question in our minds. How can we make best use of technology to facilitate learning? How can our learning approaches be enhanced by online tools and digital apps? And we came away from the workshop with some exciting ideas for downloadable interactive field protocols, case-based online clinical updates and audio-visual storytelling.

But the real learning in the day was inspired by our conversations around the ‘psychological contract’. Fresh from his experiences building mentoring models for the Aravind Eye Hospital in India, our advisor Colin Williams challenged us to re-dress the balance in our partnerships and contractual relationships.

We know that our clinical training, our online learning services, even our work on whole healthcare systems, will not on their own be transformational. It all depends on what happens next. So perhaps the biggest lesson from the day was that we must create space in our partnerships to challenge one another from top to bottom, from the leadership to the front-line workers. To ensure that those who manage healthcare systems – as well as those treating patients on a daily basis – are fully vested in making change happen and equipped with the tools to do it.

Endorsed by leaders on the ground, PCI must be clear on what success looks like and how our support will enable our partners to implement a road-map to getting there. Only then can we hope to make real changes to broken systems and burnt-out workforces. Only then can we realise improvements to primary healthcare and patient outcomes, whether in a Bangladeshi refugee camp, a private practice in Egypt or a clinic network in Western Kenya.