Student Longitudinal Follow-up of COVID-19 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess
The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded frequent follow-up for symptomatic and high-risk patients. Crimson Care Collaborative (CCC), a student-faculty clinic, contributed to this effort through a collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. Specifically, CCC partnered with Healthcare Associates (HCA), a BIDMC academic primary care practice with over 40,000 patients. By the end of March 2020, with growing numbers of symptomatic patients calling the practice for COVID-19 advice and testing requests, HCA leadership identified an urgent and unmet need to perform monitoring follow-up calls on a large scale and in a timely manner. These patients were initially triaged by a licensed healthcare provider and if deemed appropriate for home care, were recommended to self-isolate and were provided home care guidance. HCA sought students to remotely provide scripted patient education, describe the testing procedure for those who met criteria for COVID19 testing, and identify patients who were not improving at home so that closer follow-up by the patient’s primary team could be arranged. In response to this need, CCC student leadership developed training materials, wrote interview scripts, and recruited medical student (M2-M4) volunteers within one week. During their assigned day, each student was assigned patients to call during the day and paired with a supervising attending. Students individually interviewed symptomatic patients, communicated updates to the team, wrote notes using practice-approved templates, reviewed all cases with the supervising attending and communicated follow-up action items with primary care providers. Over the course of the ensuing week, students were responsible for making follow-up phone calls with their individual patients until symptom stabilization or improvement. Since launch, almost thirty student volunteers have followed over two hundred patients. Faculty and medical students frequently comment that this program has recreated the clinical teaching usually in traditional inpatient rotations. Furthermore, patients have appreciated the additional opportunity to communicate questions and concerns to their healthcare team. This experience has renewed confidence in faculty, students, and patients that medical education can effectively continue despite the current health crisis.
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