An Interprofessional Telehealth Educational and Simulation Program for Primary Care Student Providers

A Research Pilot Study

Calli Cook, DNP; Amy Becklenberg, DNP; Alex Kendall, MS; Allison Leppke, DNP; Pam Vohra-Khulla, MD


Nurs Econ. 2022;40(5):230-237. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The COVID-19 pandemic greatly limited face-to-face patient care in many health care settings which negatively impacted clinical education for student clinicians. The urgent need for the delivery of telemedicine services highlighted the deficiency in ambulatory care telehealth services and telemedicine education in many medical, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant programs. The aim of this pilot study was to improve student clinicians' outpatient telemedicine competences and interprofessional practice using simulation. The authors concluded telehealth skills and interprofessional collaboration were improved, providing faculty with an active learning tool to increase students' skills and comfort in telemedicine delivery.


The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have altered healthcare delivery in many ways and, for many healthcare providers, telehealth was essential for the delivery of safe effective care during this time. Many patients and healthcare providers were affected by this change as well as student clinicians. The COVID-19 pandemic uncovered many student clinicians have received minimal education regarding telehealth services (Pourmand et al., 2021). The urgent need for the delivery of telehealth services highlighted the deficit in telehealth education in many medical, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant programs, and thus, training clinicians in how best to conduct outpatient synchronous video visits has been identified as a gap in medical education (Waseh & Dicker, 2019). The ideal curriculum to teach telemedicine has not yet been established and many different curricula are successfully being used nationally and internationally (Alkureishi et al., 2021; Stovel et al., 2020). Increased use of telehealth also introduces new opportunities for interprofessional collaboration and training in this area (Knight & Prettyman, 2020; Ransdell et al., 2021). Medical and nursing organizations have highlighted the need for improved education in telehealth services. The American Medical Association (AMA) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) have called for telehealth to become a core competency of medical students (AMA, 2016; AAMC, 2021; Warshaw, 2018). The AMA has recently developed a telehealth playbook focused on clinical education (AMA, 2022). Additionally, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties created and supports telehealth competencies for APRNs based on the knowledge and skills required to effectively deliver healthcare utilizing telehealth technologies (Rutledge et al., 2018). The competencies are consistent with the competencies required for face-to-face healthcare encounters. Further-more, telehealth curricula for students provide the foundation for telehealth skills; however, without adequate learner experiences in virtual visits with patients (Dawson et al., 2020). A 2017 Cochran Review, in response to the broad need for more interdisciplinary collaboration, identified the need for more interventions and research to address interdisciplinary collaboration (Reeves et al., 2017) and this is particularly important as telehealth is expanding. The aim of this research study was to create and test a pilot project – improving telehealth education and competency for students (ITECS) – to improve student clinicians' telehealth competences through clinical education and to foster a team-based approach to care delivery through a simulated telehealth patient experience.