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Vanderbilt University Student-led Interdisciplinary Project to Prepare Patients for Telehealth Appointments

Last Updated: May 6, 2020


This project is a Vanderbilt University medical student-led, interdisciplinary effort to educate and prepare patients for their telehealth appointments. Volunteers call patients one day before their scheduled telehealth appointments to help patients understand the logistics of their telehealth appointment and assist the patient in setting up their devices with Zoom and My Health at Vanderbilt mobile applications and web programs. The student volunteer helps the patient test their devices and also works through common obstacles to a successful visit. This telehealth project helps facilitate social distancing and reduce COVID exposure to our vulnerable patients. 

Medical students Kaustav Shah, Roman Gusdorf, and Austin Triana have teamed with Dr. Sara Horst and other Vanderbilt faculty to develop and execute this program. This program was identified as a clear need by the clinicians of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the students have worked directly with many department chairs and faculty members to execute this program. Over 70 students have volunteered over 300 hours assisting patients. We have already educated thousands of patients and assisted over 70 clinics of wide-ranging specialties. Volunteers include Vanderbilt medical students (M1-M4s), nursing students, speech-language pathology students, and masters of genetic counseling students. The program has allowed students to continue supporting their community even while having clinical duties suspended. Patients are extremely grateful for our guidance and note reduced anxiety regarding their telehealth appointments. Providers appreciate our assistance in increasing the number of successful appointments by reducing complications related to the rapid transition to telehealth.


Kaustav Shah, BSE, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (kaustav.p.shah@vanderbilt.edu)