Interprofessional Education: Conducting Telehealth in Health Care to Identify Disparities
Background: In response to COVID-19, regulations governing Telehealth were relaxed providing new opportunities for patient care delivery. Training students to deliver Telehealth became essential. We developed an interprofessional curriculum to deliver Telehealth education with a focus on recognizing and addressing health disparities.
Methodology: The curriculum was delivered through asynchronous modules, a synchronous virtual orientation, and a Telehealth simulation. Students were assigned in interprofessional teams of 3-5 disciplines. Prior to orientation each student received a case to review. During orientation, teams met, reviewed the case and created a visit agenda which included a plan to address problems identified. For the simulation, students received a different case. Teams met before the simulation, reviewed the case, created a visit agenda, and identified roles and responsibilities for each student. Afterwards, students met to debrief. Teams submitted an assignment which included: visit agenda, roles/responsibilities, care plan, factors contributing to health disparities, suggestions for mitigation, and a reflection on interprofessional collaboration. Retrospective examination was conducted on teams’ assignments. Qualitative data analysis stemmed from Strauss and Corbin (1990) which involved open coding of teams’ assignments to create themes pertaining to disparities. Axial coding was used to reveal similarities and differences amongst the themes generated from open coding.
Results: 557 students (279 medical, 141 dental, 100 social work, 30 pharmacy, 7 athletic training) participated in Winter 2022. 144 teams submitted assignments. Qualitative review of factors contributing to disparities identified multiple social determinants of health. Eleven themes emerged which included: access to dental and healthcare, burden of chronic disease, lack of transportation, financial insecurity, occupational risks, inadequate community resources, housing quality, low education, food insecurity, physical environment, and age.
Conclusion: An interprofessional Telehealth curriculum delivered to students can aid in students’ ability to collaborate and identify factors contributing to health disparities.