September 18, 2018

Survey of Medical Students’ Training on Telemedicine

Telemedicine continues to grow as technology plays a larger role in the delivery of medical care. As more academic hospitals begin to use telemedicine in at least one department, students may have increased opportunities to train directly with telemedicine equipment. However, knowledge of telemedicine is not currently tested on the medical licensing exams or integrated in medical education. We conducted a multi-site investigation of U.S. and Canadian medical students’ perceptions of their education in telemedicine during both their pre-clinical and clinical years. An online survey containing 11 questions regarding telemedicine training and importance of telemedicine education was sent out to students at 8 medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. A total of 316 surveys were voluntarily completed and analyzed in the study.

The survey data from our study demonstrated that medical students in the U.S. and Canada do not feel adequately trained in telemedicine. Less than 5% of students were satisfied with their telemedicine training, and less than 7% felt prepared to practice telemedicine. This finding contrasts sharply with the 90.8% of students who reported at least some interest in learning more about telemedicine and the 97% who believed that telemedicine will play some part in physician practices ten years from now. Our results demonstrate that there is a need for increased telemedicine training at medical schools in the two countries studied, as most students feel that they will be unprepared to practice telemedicine.

Andrew Nelson, MS II and Neal Sikka, MD
The George Washington University School of Medicine