Teachers’ perspectives on communication in the context of supervising learners during telehealth encounters
Keywords:Clinical teaching and learning, communication skills, clinical skills, telehealth teaching
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased use of telehealth for healthcare visits. Telehealth visits have created new communication challenges for clinician-patient encounters and for interactions between health professional learners and clinical teachers, known as preceptors. Little research has explored how teachers can effectively supervise and explicitly emphasize communication skills during telehealth visits. Aim: This study’s purpose was to explore clinical preceptors’ perspectives on effective approaches in precepting telehealth visits with medical residents and students. Methods: An online survey elicited comments from clinical preceptors from two United States medical schools on effective telehealth teaching practices. Thematic analysis identified salient perspectives and overall guidance on precepting telehealth encounters. Results: Survey participants reported varying levels of experience with precepting telehealth visits. Main areas identified as important for effectively supervising telehealth encounters and facilitating effective communication included explicit preparation for preceptors, learners and patients and using educational opportunities, especially observation, during the telehealth encounter. Discussion: This study identifies strategies for maximizing effective communication between preceptors, learners, and patients during supervised telehealth visits. Participants identified potential educational advantages of supervising telehealth visits. Conclusions: Clinical teachers can reinforce effective telehealth communication skills with learner led telehealth patient encounters.
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