PRP066: Creating Virtual Learning for Students during the COVID Pandemic: Feasibility and Impact of Technologies in Medical Education

Shou Ling Leong, MD; Lawrence Kass; Eric Messner, PhD, FNP-BC; Alyssa Anderson, MD; Jessica Parascando; Eliana Hempel, MD; Joy Bowen, MPIA; Jennifer Grana


During the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face patient encounters were suspended for all learners. Education was converted to remote learning, and the curriculum was divided into two phases - Indirect Patient Care (IPC, no direct patient contact) and Direct Patient Care (DPC, resuming face-to-face encounters). During the IPC, students worked on medical knowledge and clinical skills, including oral presentation, note writing and clinical reasoning. This is especially challenging for the 3rd and 4th year students for whom in-person clinical experience is so important to their training. Using iPad, we created virtual learning, connecting students remotely to patient care in the hospital, clinic and emergency department.

Objective: To assess the feasibility and impact of virtual learning activities in student acquisition of competencies in clinical skills.

Study Design: Qualitative study, focus group and reflections

Setting: Suburban university-based academic medical center.

Population: 3rd and 4th year medical students

Intervention: Virtual Rounds- participate in inpatient service remotely, including pre-rounds, interview patients and table round; Virtual Visits- participate in outpatient care remotely, using telehealth technology; Virtual emergency medicine- seeing acute patients remotely; COVID clinic- participate in the care for patients with COVID remotely.

Outcome measures: From focus group and student reflections, we anticipate themes will emerge addressing: How did each of the clerkship components (IPC, virtual activities, DPC) help students achieve the clerkship competencies? In comparing the various clerkship components, what were the strengths and weaknesses of each component? What elements/features are needed to make virtual learning activities effective?

Results: Our preliminary data showed that iPads with HIPAA-compliant Zoom capability worked well in connecting the students to the clinical environment. Both students and faculty gave positive feedback on the virtual experiences, reporting that the quality learning was good.
With the uncertainty of how long COVID will be impacting medical education, it is important that we develop meaningful ways to teach medicine virtually. We need to re-think teaching and learning, and discover what works, what doesn’t work, and what is feasible. This study aims to measure the educational impact of a novel virtual learning experience designed to prepare students for their clinical training.
Leave a Comment
Megan Mendez Miller 11/21/2020

I love this poster, colleagues! I feel strongly committed to virtual-patients interactions with medical students not only to involve them safely in patient care for their clerkships during these pandemic times, but also to train our medical learners in telemedicine - which will inevitably be part of their future clinic practice

Shou Ling Leong 11/22/2020

Thank you, Megan, for your comments. We want to explore the potential of technologies in medical education and share your goal of training teleheatlh in the next generation of physicians.

Susan Veldheer 11/22/2020

Yes! just switching to online lectures is not working! Switching to more 1:1 discussion can be tough. Look forward to what innovative solutions you come up with!

Tim Riley 11/23/2020

Excellent presentation of an innovative solution to challenging circumstances. This demonstrates the value of keeping  students  involved at the bedside through the challenges of the pandemic, and how with creativity and determination we can continue to meet educational needs. Well done!

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