M.W.FIONA SENG1, S.R.DORMITORIO1, L.M.JANET POH1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
Face to face patient clerking had always been an enriching experience for the students. Still, with the implementation of safe distancing measures due to COVID-19, students’ movement and patient engagement were restricted in the clinical areas, thereby limiting their clinical experience.
Virtual patient clerking was introduced to provide an alternative learning opportunity for the students amidst the current pandemic. This was piloted with RAI patients diagnosed with Inflammatory Arthritis, Connective Tissue and Osteoporosis, Crystal Arthritis, and Spondyloarthritis. Patients zoom from their homes, and students zoom in to take the patient’s medical history under the guidance of a teaching faculty. Polling and case discussions were also included as activities during the online session.
23 students completed a 5-point Likert scale survey. 20/23 (87%) students Agree or Strongly Agree that the virtual session had been engaging and beneficial for their learning. While most of the students considered the session helpful, 16/23 (69.6%) students rated face to face interaction as their preferred way of patient clerking. Qualitative feedback showed that students appreciated allowing them to have this patient interaction and guidance during history taking by the teaching faculty. One major limitation highlighted was the inability of the students to do a physical examination on the patients.
Results and feedback suggest that virtual patient clerking is a useful alternative teaching tool when real patient contact is impossible. This activity can also effectively enhance history taking skills and knowledge comparable to traditional face to face patient clerking.