Developing an eLearning Course to Facilitate Medical Health Terminology
Principal Supervisors

Professor Carmen Wong
(The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care)


2 years and 3 months

Approved Budget

HK $367,940

  • Abstract
  • Brief write-up
  • Video Report


Increasingly healthcare education encompass the importance of communication skills training by adopting specific and targeted interventions desired to improve therapeutic and inter-professional communication skills of health care workers in all disciplines for effective multidisciplinary health care delivery. This project extends from an e-learning communications course which was developed last year and integrated into the medical curriculum this year.

It was noted that there are discrepancies between terms used by patients and doctors and lack of consistent terms and terminology which would impede communications between health professionals, within discipline e.g. nursing, medicine, Chinese medicine which is likely to impact on patient care.

The proposed project seeks to provide an e-learning course that enhances students’ medical vocabulary in English, Cantonese and Putonghua so that students are fit for purpose to serve the population. The project will set up a database of terms with audiofiles with illustration of how such terms may be used as well as descriptors of the terms as to differentiate between similar terms and to interlink with other terminology which may be used in conjunction.

This resource can be used for the whole of Medical Faculty as to understand lay and technical terms and such learning will be mirrored to the curriculum e.g. in nursing, pharmacy, medicine, Chinese medicine so that students can learn in context. Assessment may be in the form of OSCEs used in communication skills.

Brief write-up

Project objectives

Effective communication with patients and other professionals is essential for enhancing healthcare in the community. Effective communication results in patients having a better understanding of their medical conditions, investigations and treatment option and being more satisfied with their care. It was noted that there are discrepancies between terms used by patients and doctors and lack of consistent terms and terminology which would impede communication between health professionals and as well as patients. A database in the form of a website was set up of medical vocabulary with audio files in Cantonese, English and Putonghua. Meanwhile the E-course and assessments were developed for students to facilitate their learning of medical vocabulary. The objective of the project was to enhance students’ knowledge and pronunciation of medical vocabulary in English, Cantonese and Putonghua.

Activities, process and outcomes

The project consisted of 2 components, a website “Medical Audio Glossary” and E-course and assessments. The website was launched on 9 July 2018 for all medical students and staff to use. The terminology contents were reviewed by 29 professors and clinicians. The features of the website include: (i) 17 categories with 4,021 terms/vocab in total; (ii) 29 professors and clinicians reviewed the categories; (iii) 96 common phrases in doctor-patient communication; (iv) 17 topics of Health resources (Health information pamphlets/video programmes); (v) all vocabulary/phrases were supplemented with audios in English, Cantonese and Putonghua; (vi) majority of the audios were recorded by real human voice; (vii) self-test features using flip-cards for self-learning; and (viii) mobile accessible (for easy and convenient use).

Meanwhile, six optional E-course and assessments were launched to medical year 4 (General Medicine, General Surgery) and year 5 students (Family Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Psychiatry) between January and April 2019. The specialty topics were developed based on the medical curriculum.

Deliverables and evaluation

The website “Medical Audio Glossary” is located in the Medical Curriculum System (MCU) in CUHK. It consists of “Glossary”, “Common phrases”, “Self-test” and “Resources”. The glossary includes 17 categories with total 4,021 medical terms/vocabulary. There are also 96 commonly used phrases in doctor-patient communication included in the website. All the terms/vocabulary and phrases are supplemented with English, Cantonese and Putonghua audios. Majority of audios were recorded by real human voices. Self-test was designed in a flipped card approach for students tracking self-learning process. Health information pamphlets from the Department of Health, Hospital Authority or some local NGOs and video programmes such as醫生與你, Medicine Online杏林在線 were also summarized in the Resources page for students’ information.

The E-course and assessments were incorporated on the blackboard of E-course MEDU3340 “Integrated Clinical Communication Skills I” and MEDU4340 “Integrated Clinical Communication Skills II”.

In addition, evaluations including website and course usage, Medical Audio Glossary Evaluation Survey, E-course and assessments Evaluation Survey were conducted.

Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices

Dissemination went through CUHK Blackboard system to all Year 4 and Year 5 medical students. Feedback or comments are invited to further improve the resource. An email was set up in July 2018. Students and staff can provide any suggestions or comments by email at in the contact us page.

Video Report

Please click the following link for viewing the report.