Last week we asked if skipping residency was the solution to addressing the doctor shortage in rural communities. And if skipping residency wasn’t the answer; what is?
A recently published study proposed that maybe tele-residency is part of the solution. “The feasibility and acceptability of administering a telemedicine objective structured clinical exam as a solution for providing equivalent education to remote and rural learners” reviewed remote residencies from both the fiscal and student acceptability aspects. The study introduction notes:
Although many medical schools incorporate distance learning into their curricula, assessing students at a distance can be challenging. While some assessments are relatively simple to administer to remote students, other assessments, such as objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs) are not.
Students were assigned mock patients in rural areas which the student would examine via telemedicine (teleOSCE). In addition to demonstrating clinical competency, the student also had to show “understanding of the geographic and socioeconomic realities of rural patients: learners must incorporate rural circumstances into the plan of care.”
TeleOSCE was determined to be both fiscally feasible and valuable to the students. It also served to:
expose students to telemedicine visits as a new model of rural care, while simultaneously increasing awareness of common issues in rural population health.
So it is affordable, and the students like it – but does make up for not having residents physically present in rural communities?