Medical student remote eConsult participation during the COVID-19 pandemic

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21 Scopus citations


Background: Undergraduate medical education was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As traditional clinical rotations were suspended, medical students quickly began alternative, novel educational experiences. Third-year medical students at an academic medical center were given the opportunity to join inpatient eConsult teams within the department of medicine. This study describes the development and implementation of this program as well as the experiences of student and faculty participants. Methods: Student eConsult participation was rapidly developed and implemented within medical subspecialty teams in either infectious diseases (ID) or nephrology. Twelve third-year medical students and 15 subspecialty attendings participated in this program during an eight-week period from April 6 through May 29, 2020. Breadth of student clinical experience was assessed via review of clinical documentation and surveys. Participating students and attending physicians completed surveys to reflect upon their impressions of the program. Surveys were returned by nine students and eight faculty members. Survey responses were summarized with descriptive statistics. Results: Over an eight-week period, student consultants wrote 126 notes on 100 patients; 74 of these patients (74%) were hospitalized with COVID-19. Student experiences were largely positive with most strongly agreeing that attendings promoted interactive and engaged learning (N = 8 of 8, 100%), that the experience helped to expand their knowledge about consultant roles (N = 6, 75%), and that they would participate in a remote eConsult program again if given the opportunity (N = 6, 75%). Faculty also were largely positive about the experience with most agreeing or strongly agreeing with the importance of teaching medical students about telehealth (N = 7 of 8, 88%) and eConsults (N = 6, 75%). In narrative responses, students and faculty agreed that teaching was a strength of the program whereas lack of in-person contact was a challenge. Conclusions: Rapid development of an inpatient eConsult-based educational experience for third-year medical students was feasible and successful. Student-consultants saw a range of pathology including COVID-19 and related complications. Students were satisfied with the program. They were able to develop a strong relationship with attendings while learning about the role of a consultant. Faculty agreed with the importance of teaching students about telehealth and eConsults specifically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Curriculum development
  • Medical education
  • Medical student
  • Telemedicine
  • eConsults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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