Sample Healthcare Paper on Best Practices Healthcare Faculty Use During Coronavirus Pandemic to Increase Outcomes

Introduction

The novel coronavirus disease that started in 2019 began threatening the lives of entire communities only a few weeks after its outbreak. The extreme disease infectiousness has adversely impacted public health systems, governments, and people’s social existence. Most nations have since declared public health emergencies to limit the spread of infection and contain the contagion. Healthcare faculties have adopted various practices aimed at increasing health and student learning outcomes. These practices include telemedicine and digital technology, partnership with health organizations and non-governmental institutions to teach and train medical practitioners, and several others. The impact of these practices on increasing health and student learning outcomes cannot be understated although various challenges have been encountered in the process. This paper reviews literature exploring best practices that health faculty use, moving from a traditional class to teaching online courses during the coronavirus pandemic, to increase student learning outcomes.

Literature Review

According to Keesara, Jonas, and Schulman (2020), one of the measures adopted by healthcare faculty to increase student learning outcomes and fight against the coronavirus pandemic is telemedicine and digital technology. Telemedicine has existed for several years although its penetration in rural communities and the market has been encumbered by sparse payment systems. According to a 2019 survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers, around 38 percent of chief executive officers at the helm of U.S. health care systems indicated having no digital component as part of their overall strategic plans (Keesara, Jonas, & Schulman, 2020). A number of factors were given for the lack of digital components including data protection and privacy regulations, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as the continued expansions of HIPAA rules alongside penalties falling under one of the health enactments, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 (Keesara, Jonas, & Schulman, 2020). Nevertheless, shortly after the disease was announced as a public health emergency in the early months of 2020, the U.S. Congress lifted laws that hampered the penetration of telemedicine in rural regions. Consequently, all clinicians were allowed to use private communication technologies regardless of their compliance status to HIPAA policies. Although these responses have been helpful to healthcare faculty, focus should be on addressing three specific areas including expanded regulatory relief, reimbursement for new digital services, as well as evaluation of clinical care provided through the mentioned telemedicine and related technologies.

According to Wong et al. (2019), healthcare faculties have partnered with international health organizations and non-governmental institutions to teach and train medical practitioners on how to handle the disease and improve health results. These programs are aimed at strengthening practitioners’ core competencies including educating them on transmission mechanisms, control and prevention, screening, management, diagnosis, and operating health facilities. Additionally, training has been used as a morale booster for doctors wary of contracting the disease (Wong et al., 2019). Understandably, the inability to convene training sessions due to social distancing rules have compelled trainers to use digital technology. This has also ensured that these training sessions are sent to other nations to help in the improvement of their response mechanisms and defeat the disease worldwide (Wong et al., 2019). These factors are paradigmatic of the changes and developments adopted to eliminate the coronavirus disease around the globe.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the delivery of dermatology resident education. With several medical schools having suspended clinical rotations since March 2020, medical education has been provided mainly through telemedicine (Loh, Hsiao, & Shi, 2020). Loh, Hsiao, and Shi (2020) argue that teledermatology has played a critical role with many dermatology appointments being transitioned to virtual visits thus allowing the participation of medical students in the encounters. With the restriction of movements and social distance rules in existence owing to the coronavirus pandemic, medical students join video conferencing patient care encounters. The video conferences are attended by medical students at the discretion of patients and others in attendance. It is in these video conferences that medical students learn fundamental dermatologic concepts while at the same time taking part in patient care (Scheinfeld, 2005). The outcome is the optimization of the medical students’ learning in the absence of in-person visits. The video conferencing avenue is supplemented by online lectures, journal clubs, and Kodachrome sessions to which medical students are invited to join. Also available are virtual dermatology society conferences, podcasts, and webinars that are free of charge to residents although extending invitations to medical students could prove beneficial with current restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Anderson et al. (2020), healthcare and medical education continues to face a challenge that is unprecedented in the lifetime of humans. The pandemic has touched every aspect of how care is delivered to patients as well as the training of health professionals of tomorrow. However, various interventions have been recommended to guide the education of health professions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the difficult times for health professions education, focus still is on prioritizing healthcare system welfare (Chong et al., 2020). It is stressed that healthcare systems must support care delivery by ensuring that educational activities undertaken reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission and possible adverse impacts on the safety of patients (Anderson et al., 2020).This objective can best be achieved through the modification of bedside care to reduce exposure for medical students and healthcare professionals. The best practice in this regard is the use of phone or video to facilitate contact between patient and trainee (Anderson et al., 2020). This practice should be used alongside other practices such as performance of selective physical examination only and when necessary and prioritization of a single skilled examiner.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a big percentage of healthcare education was through traditional teaching techniques that involved physical meetings between educators and students and one-on-one interactions between medical trainees and patients. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has forced several educational institutions around the world to postpone or cancel all campus events (Sahu, 2020). With the coronavirus expected to be around according to the World Health Organization (WHO), interventions must be put in place for healthcare faculty to continue with their educational undertakings (Aker & Mıdık, 2020). Sahu (2020) favors Zoom meetings between educators and students instead of physical meetings that were used previously. According to Sahu (2020), online learning could a great opportunity owing to the current crisis. In addition to Zoom meetings, social media platforms can play an integral role going forward. Healthcare faculty should utilize these platforms to provide course instructions and other services to students to support academic continuity.

Conclusion

The novel coronavirus disease has had devastating impacts on public health systems, governments, and people’s social existence. Healthcare education has also been affected with education institutions canceling or postponing classes. However, according to literature reviewed above, the current pandemic offers a great opportunity for the adoption of online learning. Based on the reviewed literature, best practices to increase student learning outcomes with the COVID-19 pandemic include telemedicine and digital technology; partnerships between education institutions and international health organizations and non-governmental institutions to teach and train medical practitioners; video conferences supplemented by online lectures, journal clubs, and Kodachrome sessions; use of phone or video to facilitate patient-trainee contact; as well as Zoom and other social media platforms.

 

 

 

References

Aker, S., & Mıdık, Ö. (2020). The views of medical faculty students in Turkey concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Community Health, 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00841-9

Anderson, M. L., Turbow, S., Willgerodt, M. A., & Ruhnke, G. W. (2020). Education in a Crisis: The Opportunity of Our Lives. Journal of Hospital Medicine15(5), 287-289. https://doi.org/10.12788/jhm.3431

Chong, A., Kagetsu, N. J., Yen, A., & Cooke, E. A. (2020). Radiology residency preparedness and response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Academic Radiology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2020.04.001

Keesara, S., Jonas, A., & Schulman, K. (2020). Covid-19 and health care’s digital revolution. New England Journal of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmp2005835

Loh, T. Y., Hsiao, J. L., & Shi, V. Y. (2020). COVID-19 and its impact on medical student education in dermatology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2020.05.026

Sahu, P. (2020). Closure of universities due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on education and mental health of students and academic staff. Cureus12(4), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.7541

Scheinfeld, N. (2005). The use of teledermatology to supervise dermatology residents. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology52(2), 378-380. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2004.07.050

Wong, J., Goh, Q. Y., Tan, Z., Lie, S. A., Tay, Y. C., Ng, S. Y., & Soh, C. R. (2020). Preparing for a COVID-19 pandemic: a review of operating room outbreak response measures in a large tertiary hospital in Singapore. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia67(6), 732–745. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12630-020-01620-9