A virtual patient educational activity to improve interprofessional competencies: A randomized trial

Purpose/Hypothesis : Interprofessional (IP) collaboration is increasingly identified as essential for ensuring safe and effective patient-centered health care.1 Interprofessional education is intended to mitigate factors that can undermine collaboration among health professionals and compromise patient care.2 Case-based learning may provide a clinically-relevant context for learning IP competencies.3 The purpose of the present study was to determine whether an IP virtual patient educational activity improved IP competencies in Pharmacy (Pharm), Physician Assistant (PA), and Physical Therapy (PT) graduate students.Number of Subjects : Seventy-two Pharm (n=3), PA (n=27), and PT (n=12) graduate students.Materials/Methods : Participants were stratified by discipline and randomized into control (n= 38) and experimental groups (n=34). Students in the experimental group were placed into IP teams of 3-4 students. A case representing a patient with complications associated with diabetes mellitus was selected from the VirtualPT and DxR Clinician internet-based virtual patient software (DxR Development Group, Carbondale, IL). Students in the experimental group were instructed to work as a team to complete the history and examination, then develop a comprehensive management plan and respond to reflective questions about the experience. The control group did not complete the virtual patient case and received no additional activities beyond usual coursework. At baseline and at study completion, all participants completed an original survey that assessed progress toward achieving selected IP Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies and the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS). Chi Square analysis and associated odds ratios were used to compare the percentage of students in the treatment and control groups demonstrating improvement on the RIPLS and the IPEC competencies surveys.Results : Regarding the IPEC competencies survey, the experimental group demonstrated significantly greater odds of improvement on 4 out of 5 questions measuring IP communication (?2=12.94, p=.000, OR=20.18; ?2=9.56, p=.002, OR=7.22; ?2=6.37, p=.012, OR=4.64; ?2=4.88, p=.027, OR=3.60), 2 out of 2 questions regarding collaboration (?2=7.64, p=.006, OR=5.26; ?2=8.53, p=.003, OR=13.32), and 1 out of 1 question measuring confidence (?2=6.85, p=.009, OR=5.58). Regarding the RIPLS, the experimental group demonstrated significantly greater odds of improvement on 3 out of 9 questions measuring teamwork and collaboration (?2=3.85, p=.050,OR=4.67; ?2=5.01, p=.025, OR=5.54; ?2=6.01, p=.014, OR=>10), 1 out of 6 questions measuring professional identity (?2=5.86, p=.016, OR=9.59), and 1 out of 3 questions measuring roles and responsibility (?2=6.37, p=.012, OR=4.64).Conclusions : The use of an IP virtual patient educational activity in Pharm, PA, and PT students resulted in improvement across a several IPEC competencies and RIPLS domains compared to a control group.Clinical Relevance : This study demonstrates the efficacy of a virtual case-based IP learning experience for achieving several IP competencies.

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  • Control #: 2002831
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Michael J. Shoemaker, Margaret de Voest, Andrew Booth, Lisa Meny, Justin Victor
  • Keywords: interprofessional education|virtual patient|case-based learning

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