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USciences Students Gain Telehealth Experience During COVID-19 Clinical Rotations

By Nicole Carrera

Published on May 19, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has meant that many patients and their care teams are meeting on telehealth calls rather than face to face at the bedside. To learn the essential skills for this new modality of care, USciences students took on telehealth rotations this semester and were exposed to new ideas and challenges that arise when treating patients from afar. 

“Picking up on changes in tone, volume, and other verbal clues were important from a healthcare provider’s perspective,” Karissa Chow PharmD’20 shares.

While most healthcare institutions were using telemedicine in some capacity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of telehealth has taken on a new shape and has brought to light unique aspects of healthcare for continued learning opportunities for students. 

“Telemedicine also requires a certain level of trust with the provider,” said Chow. “The patient has to be willing, to be honest, and open when the discussion is over the phone or via video.”

In addition to relying on trust between patient and provider, technological advances are also a factor in determining the success of telemedicine, said Whitney Ly PharmD’20. 

“The robust technology that is constantly evolving allows health care providers to truly provide care for patients in the comfort of their own homes,” Ly said. “Health care providers are able to reach a bigger population especially those who do not have means of transportation or who physically cannot get to an office.”

The students also learned the importance of in-person patient care from these telehealth experiences. Ly said it was difficult to build trust and develop relationships during when only meeting via video call with a patient. “By seeing patients and having a face to face connection allows the patients to get to know us and trust that we are there to provide the best care for them,” she said.

Students reflected on the pros and cons of both telemedicine and in-person patient care, however as future healthcare providers, the students agreed they were able to gain the experiences they need to adapt to any situation. 

“Regardless of the healthcare setting I may enter these skills will ultimately ensure that I provide the best care possible to my patients and make a difference in others’ lives,” said Alicia Alex PharmD’20.

Categories: News, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacy, Students, Coronavirus