How telemedicine can be incorporated into med school curriculum

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Taking a page from the curriculum at the Stanford University School of Medicine, a new article outlines how telemedicine training can be incorporated into medical education.

While today’s med school students are "digital natives," having grown up surrounded by technology, formal training is necessary to ensure that virtual care meets the standards of traditional care, according to the article, published at the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR).

The American Medical Association recently adopted a policy stating that telemedicine training should be incorporated in medical education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as a core competency.

Formal training will ensure future docs understand the differences between remote care and in-person care, such as how patient-reported blood pressure readings might differ from that taken in the office, as well as the limitations of telemedicine, according to the JMIR report. They also need to understand HIPAA guidelines and other legal issues, such as licensing laws and malpractice, as they apply to telemedicine.

In the first two “preclinical” years at Stanford, students take a clinical skills class called “Practice of Medicine” (POM) that covers the process of clinical reasoning, how to do a history and physical exam and other skills. The authors of the report, two of whom are Stanford med students, propose using one POM session every two months for students to interact with patients remotely. Lectures leading up to these sessions should cover the differences between electronic and traditional encounters.

During the final two “clinical” years, students go through rotations for various specialties. One of them could be a “digital health rotation” of two to four weeks in which students would learn about digital tools and how they can be applied across fields, they write. For other specialties, such as radiology, dermatology and primary care, they suggest students spend 10 to 20 hours on “digital call” with faculty supervision to learn about remote applications in that field.

To learn more:
- here's the article