Utilizing Virtual Standardized Patient Encounters in Education for Enhancing Interprofessional Collaborative Care
All in-person Standardized Patient (SP) activities were suspended throughout the height of COVID-19. UTMB still had a large student body who needed simulation and clinical experiences. This provided the Health Education Center (HEC) & the School of Health Professions (SHP) an opportunity to utilize virtual SP encounters in education for enhancing interprofessional collaborative care. UTMB HEC and SHP used an innovative strategy to bring 5 disciplines together to perform a full patient interview, formulate an interprofessional plan of care and deliver this information back to the patient; all through a simulated virtual standardized patient encounter. Students from Physical Therapy, Clinical Lab Sciences, Respiratory Therapy, Nutrition & Metabolism, Occupational Therapy and a faculty facilitator met on Zoom for this activity. Collaboratively students were asked to develop questions they would like to ask a patient based on the brief case history they were provided. The students were then connected to an SP and together performed a patient interview. Following the interview, the SP was placed in the waiting room to enable the students to collectively develop a management plan. Once this had been completed, the students were reconnected to the patient to deliver the care plan. The activity debrief revealed students felt the encounter was authentic and they learned about the roles and responsibilities of other disciplines and where there was overlap and differences in the professions. Students also reported feeling more confident in delivering interprofessional care and working in a team following the activity. Moving forward, students & faculty reported a desire to continue this virtual SP activity as a part of their educational programs.