Outpatient to Inpatient Provider Communication Training for Internal Medicine MS3 Clerkship​

Date
2023
Authors
Reinhardt, Joanna
Izutsu, Christie
Shimamoto, Royce
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Abstract

Objective
Improving future physician’s information gathering and communication skills in hospital admissions and inpatient patient care through a structured communication protocol for third year medical students in their Internal Medicine clerkship.

Background and/or theoretical framework and importance to the field
Transitions of care from the outpatient to the inpatient setting have been identified as an area of potential quality gaps in patient care, with the principles of communication and timely exchange of information specifically identified.Some studies have shown that provider to provider communication that is bidirectional may be most effective for information gathering. Teaching medical students to effectively contact outpatient physicians provides an opportunity for the students to develop skills in professional medical communication while also potentially contributing meaningful information to the patient’s inpatient medical team. Medical students on inpatient Internal Medicine rotations are in a unique position to contribute to the gathering of information during hospital admissions and early care.

Design
Created a standardized communication protocol for MS3 students on Internal Medicine inpatient clerkship. A small pilot group of students (n=6) were provided in-person (via Zoom) or written training on the protocol and completed a communication exercise. Anonymous surveys were completed by students at the completion of the rotation to assess outcomes. Responses were compiled.

Outcomes
Students reported that they felt that the exercise was a useful learning experience (80%) and increased their confidence level in contacting outpatient physicians (80%). Half of the students felt that the information they gathered improved patient care. Faculty responded that it was a valuable learning exercise.

Innovation's strengths and limitations
Strengths: The standardized communication protocol is well accepted by MS3 students. Faculty felt the learning experience was valuable.
Limitations: Small pilot study. Lacking assessment of impact on long-term efficacy and patient care.

Feasibility and generalizability
Improving medical student’s ability to communicate effectively with other physicians may lead to long-term improvements in inter-physician communication and improved patient care.

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