Context: Although the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated the use of telemedicine platforms across the country, medical students may lack confidence in their ability to conduct satisfactory patient encounters and practice clinical medicine through telemedicine.
Objectives: To evaluate the role of a standardized patient encounter on first year medical student confidence and satisfaction in using telemedicine.
Methods: One hundred and sixty two first year medical students recruited from Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas campus were surveyed on their confidence and satisfaction with using telemedicine platforms before and after conducting a patient encounter. Participant confidence and satisfaction were assessed with a five point Likert scale: “not confident,” “a little confident,” “somewhat confident,” “confident,” and “extremely confident.”
Results: Of 162 students, 103 (63.6%) completed the preencounter survey and 74 (45.7%) completed the postencounter survey. Before the standardized patient encounter, 37 participants (35.9%) reported that they were “a little confident” and 20 participants (19.4%) reported that they were “not confident” in their ability to conduct a patient interview using a telemedicine platform. Following the encounter, 24 students (32.4%) reported feeling “somewhat confident”, and 32 (43.2%) reported feeling “confident” in their ability.
Conclusions: Medical students’ confidence and satisfaction with telemedicine improved after a standardized patient telemedicine experience in this study. This experience allowed students to practice the unique skills required for telemedicine. Medical schools might consider adding a telemedicine curriculum and standardized patient experiences in the undergraduate medical setting.