Novel Approach to the Standardized Patient Experience: Telecommunication Simulation (1090-004276) (Research Abstract Professor Rounds: Group 7)
Start time: Friday, January 29, 2021, 1:00 PM End time: Friday, January 29, 2021, 2:00 PM Session Type: Research Abstracts (Completed Studies)
Effectively communicating difficult or sensitive information with patients and families is an essential component of training for physicians. Our program hosts an annual Standardized Patient Day emphasizing these communication skills. The COVID-19 pandemic both hindered our ability for in-person sessions and highlighted the necessity for telehealth proficiency.
We converted to an entirely virtual experience. We produced 2 telephone cases: Discussing Hyperbilirubinemia in the Ambulatory Setting and Reporting an Inpatient Change in Patient Status; and 2 video visits: Triaging an Asthmatic Teenager and Working Through a New Diagnosis of Type 1 DM. Eight pairs of professional standardized patients and faculty proctors participated in 1 of 4 cases. Thirty residents were divided into 8 groups. Two “rooms” were created for each case through a virtual meeting platform. Resident groups rotated virtually between rooms experiencing each case once, while proctor/standardized patient pair remained in their room. The “provider” roll rotated among residents, while the remaining residents observed virtually. Case interactions lasted 15 minutes followed by a 10-minute debrief centered on communication skills. Twenty-two Residents completed pre-/post-experience surveys. Proctors and standardized patients completed post-experience feedback.
McNemar’s test analyzed change in dichotomous variables and Wilcoxon signed-rank test compared change in Likert scale data. The residents surveyed were evenly distributed across training levels. They confirmed increased frequency of telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before (p=0.003). Only 41% of residents were comfortable using telehealth for patient interaction prior to the experience, while 100% of residents reported comfort after completing the cases (p=0.0002). Comfort discussing each case theme with telehealth also increased post-experience (all p<0.01). Proctors and standardized patients agreed that the content was sufficient, timing was appropriate, and technical difficulties were minimal.
Prior to COVID-19, a progressive movement to include telehealth education in residency training had already begun. Given this model’s success and the likelihood telehealth will play a larger role in the post-COVID-19 practice environment, we will continue including telecommunication simulations in our annual Standardized Patient Day. No significant changes beyond minor clarifications to the case materials would be required to adapt this process. Our model effectively improves communication skills and could be adjusted to more directly test clinical knowledge depending on the program’s goal.