How 4 hospitals, universities are teaching med students 'website manner'

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Medical schools and teaching hospitals are increasingly developing programs to educate students and trainees on how to use telemedicine, according to an Association of American Medical Colleges blog post April 24.

The majority of medical schools — 58 percent — included telemedicine as a topic in required or elective courses during the 2016-17 academic year, according to AAMC data. By contrast, only 41 percent of medical schools provided telemedicine training during the 2013-14 academic year.

Telemedicine education programs tend to include training on communication and technical skills related to remote patient evaluation. These skills — commonly called "webside" manner, a take on traditional bedside manner — comprise techniques like camera positioning, eye contact and patient engagement.

Here's how four teaching hospitals and medical schools are promoting telemedicine education.

1. University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson. Through the Arizona Telemedicine Program, students participate in hands-on training with electronic stethoscopes, patient exam cameras and electronic dermatoscopes. The university is slated to open a health sciences innovation building this summer, which will include a video wall for students to practice using telemedicine technologies.

2. George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (Washington, D.C.). While the university does not have an established elective program for telemedicine, the institution offers students and residents the option to participate in rotations tailored to their telemedicine interests, such as remote patient monitoring, including information on communication skills and various use cases.

3. Harvard Medical School (Boston). Third-and fourth-year students have the option to choose an elective including telemedicine training. Residents in select disciplines, such as psychiatry and dermatology, also receive telemedicine training for three to six months. Brigham and Women's Hospital, an affiliated teaching hospital in Boston, offers fellowships in digital health and informatics to interested students.

4. Weill Cornell Medicine (New York City). The medical school offers fourth-year students the option to sign up for a two-week elective in telemedicine and digital health, which includes simulated video visits — where students conduct a patient interview and virtual exam — and the opportunity to shadow clinicians who work with telemedicine.

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