HumanInsight Geriatric Telehealth: A Standardized Patient Case for Medical Students
MedEdPORTAL. 2023 Sep 12;19:11345. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11345. eCollection 2023.
INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the rapid expansion of telemedicine. However, there has been minimal coverage of telemedicine in traditional undergraduate medicine curricula. Telemedicine presents specific challenges in the geriatric population, including unfamiliarity with technology, cognitive and sensory barriers, inclusion of family and/or caregivers, multimorbidity, and a high degree of medical complexity.
METHODS: We developed a workshop to allow rising third-year medical students to practice a telemedicine patient encounter while developing skills for assessing and communicating with geriatric patients. This 90-minute workshop consisted of an introductory didactic presentation and a standardized patient activity for small groups of two to five students. Students' level of comfort with telemedicine for assessment of geriatric patients was evaluated with a pre- and postsurvey.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight students participated in the workshop and completed the surveys (presurvey = 58, postsurvey = 40), with roughly half (52%) reporting prior experience with telemedicine. A 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = very uncomfortable, 5 = very comfortable) was used. Students reported statistically significant increases in comfort using telemedicine (presurvey = 3.1, postsurvey = 3.9, p < .001) and using telemedicine for patients ≥65 years (presurvey = 2.8, postsurvey = 3.9, p < .001) after completing the workshop.
DISCUSSION: Medical students' comfort levels using telemedicine and caring for patients ages 65 and older with a telehealth visit improved after participating in this workshop. To help prepare students for telehealth practice in their future careers, educators should provide them with opportunities to practice and develop this critical skill set.
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