NYMC Faculty Publications

Implementation and Assessment of a Novel Telehealth Education Curriculum for Undergraduate Medical Students

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Journal of Advances in Medical Education & Professionalism

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Obstetrics and Gynecology


INTRODUCTION: Despite its healthcare advantages and expanded use during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is not included in many medical school curricula.

METHODS: In this prospective mixed methods study (n=52), we created a novel Telehealth Education Curriculum (TEC) for the third year Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) rotation at New York Medical College during COVID-19. The TEC included supervised telehealth patient encounters via video conference [and a virtual Objective Structured Clinical Encounter (vOSCE)] designed to simulate a telehealth encounter (Zoom Video Communications, Inc.). We measured student perceptions of the TEC via two 4-point Likert surveys, which included free response questions, administered via SurveyMonkey between April and June 2020. Participation was voluntary and responses were de-identified. We computed means and response distributions across survey questions using SPSS; IBM version 19.

RESULTS: The response rate was 92% for both the Telehealth (33/36) and vOSCE (48/52) surveys. Seventy-six percent (25/33) strongly or moderately agreed that telehealth and in-person patient encounters have similar educational value. Eighty-three percent (40/48) strongly or moderately agreed the vOSCE provided a valuable patient interaction. Ninety-seven percent (32/33) strongly or moderately agreed the telehealth encounters should continue during COVID-19 restrictions versus 82% (27/33) agreeing they should be incorporated into the curriculumpost COVID-19.

CONCLUSION: Almost all students responded that the TEC should continue during COVID-19 and most agreed it should be incorporated into the Ob/Gyn clerkship permanently, after COVID-19. We found vOSCEs to be an effective method for teaching telehealth to medical students. Key challenges identified by students included adjusting to a virtual format, lack of body language, and communicating empathy virtually. Positive takeaways included practice with telemedicine and an opportunity for continued clinical education during COVID-19.