The Development and Flexible Modification of a Virtual, Longitudinal, Case-Based, Student-Led, Faculty-Supported Interprofessional Education Program
Interprofessional education (IPE) is an important component of healthcare education preparing students to provide well-rounded patient care as part of a collaborative team. Despite the overall satisfaction reported with participation in IPE programs and events, challenges exist due to IPE efforts commonly being faculty-led, in-person, and single-session. The purpose of this study is to describe an approach to the implementation and flexible modification of a pilot virtual, longitudinal, case-based, student-led, faculty-supported IPE program designed to address the challenges encountered by existing programs.
Participants were recruited via email from schools of medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, and physician assistant. Student leaders from each school participated in case creation, incorporating discipline-specific learning goals to ensure the engagement of all participants. A total of six sessions were conducted monthly via the Zoom virtual conferencing platform. Each session was structured to include an introduction to a patient case, discipline-specific breakout rooms providing information on the disease state, and interdisciplinary case discussions, which included at least one student from each discipline and a student leader to moderate discussion. Interdisciplinary case discussions were specifically formatted to include topics of patient and family perspectives, caregiver challenges, health equity, social determinants, and healthcare ethics. Participant feedback in the form of questionnaire responses regarding group dynamics, disciplinary presentation effectiveness, interdisciplinary discussion, moderator effectiveness, and program logistics, as well as open-ended feedback, was obtained after every session to iteratively refine successive sessions.
Sixty-two students across all disciplines were enrolled. The average response rate for post-session questionnaires was 43.4%. Implemented changes included providing key takeaways from each case, incorporating frequent moderator check-ins during interdisciplinary discussions, providing adequate context and chronology for given cases, and ensuring clinical interventions were applicable for students of all years. Students reported satisfaction with group sizes and representation of disciplines, disciplinary presentation effectiveness, moderator effectiveness, and program logistics.
This pilot study demonstrated an approach to developing and flexibly modifying a virtual, longitudinal, student-led, and faculty-supported program for interprofessional education. While formal evaluation of knowledge and skill was beyond the scope of this pilot evaluation, preliminary results indicate that a program of this design (virtual, student-led, and student-focused) can be effective for fostering the core skills necessary for effective interprofessional collaboration. This study also demonstrated the importance of ongoing process evaluation to develop an interprofessional education experience that meets the needs of the participants.