A Mobile Virtual Tutor for Clinical Communications Training

May 21, 2018 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Wayne Zachary, Starship Health Technologies, LLC
Steven Bishop, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Addison Blanda, Starship Health Technologies, LLC
Prathmesh Pethkar, Starship Health Technologies, LLC
Theresa Wilkin, Starship Health Technologies, LLC
Taylor Carpenter, CHI Systems, Inc.

REPEAT (Realizing Enhanced Patient Encounters through Aiding and Training), is a digital tutor to improve physicians’ clinical encounter communication skills by:

  • allowing the learner to practice communications skills in simulated encounters with computer-generated virtual patients, and
  • guiding the learner’s virtual practice with customized, learner-focused scaffolding that is context-sensitive to learner actions and inferred skill level.

It incorporates state-of-the-art methods and technology from Intelligent Tutoring Systems, while making the experience accessible to busy professionals by delivering the virtual encounters and tutoring on the learner’s smartphone or tablet device. The initial REPEAT Course focuses on reducing health disparities by improving physicians’ clinical communication skills in treating low-income African American and other minority patients affected by pre-diabetic obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2D).  The learning objectives and within-encounter performance measurement in this course are based on the widely-used RIME (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator) framework for clinical skill assessment, and on the MACY Scale for clinical communication assessment. This disparities communications course also integrates systematic variability in the virtual patients which the learner encounters, through a method called Backstory Elaboration, which factors specific issues and problems found in the target patient population into a unique backstory, persona, and clinical history for each virtual patient.  The patients span the broad clinical progression of Type 2 Diabetes. REPEAT stores and analyzes learner performance data as learner experiences via the xAPI standard.  The demonstration will present samples of the learner experience across the full REPEAT disparities communication curriculum, and discuss the process to create new courses/curricula.