Creating Opportunities for Telehealth Education, Assessment, and Care Through Hotspotting (CO-TEACH): Learner-Led Motivation, Development, and Deployment of the CO-TEACH Curriculum
Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic drastically expanded reliance on virtual care in clinical practice, as it offers increased flexibility and expanded access to care, particularly for patients with complex medical needs who are disproportionately impacted by non-medical drivers of health. Hotspotting programs partner health professions students with patients identified as “high utilizers” of health care resources in order to address social barriers to health, improve access to primary care, and reduce patient emergency department overutilization. Telehealth offers a solution to common social barriers; however, many clinical education curriculums are ill-equipped to prepare learners for effective, multidisciplinary telehealth consultations. By partnering with the Interprofessional Education Centers (IPECs) at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we, as student leaders, facilitated the design and deployment of a telehealth education curriculum to better prepare students to care for traditionally marginalized populations.
Approach: As inter-institutional student leaders representing medicine, occupational health, and dentistry, we partnered with faculty to provide key insight into the scope and design of the curriculum. Additionally, we led the recruitment of students to pilot the novel curriculum and served as peer mentors to these students. Lastly, we created and facilitated a standardized patient telehealth simulation which allowed learners to actively practice an interprofessional telehealth visit.
Results: Through partnership with both Duke’s and UNC’s IPECs, a novel, compact five-session telehealth delivery curriculum was created. The curriculum introduced telehealth, described the role of telehealth in reducing health inequity both locally and nationally, provided skills for conducting telehealth visits, and employed a patient simulation. The curriculum was delivered over eight weeks to 36 students from 10 different professional programs (occupational therapy, social work, pharmacy, audiology, speech-language pathology, dentistry, medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and physician assistants) across two universities. End-of-course feedback surveys identified that students found most valuable the opportunity to work with learners from different professions, practical instruction for telehealth, and the standardized patient experience. Pre- and post-course surveys indicated students perceived slight improvement in their telehealth competencies and their attitudes toward interprofessional education.
Discussion and Reflection: Our diverse group of interprofessional student leaders collaborated to design a curriculum that trained students from a broad range of health disciplines in telehealth delivery. The objectives and content of this program provided learners with foundational and practical skills needed to execute an interprofessional telehealth consult. The compact nature of this curriculum promotes continued use and facilitates adaptation by other student-led groups.