Posted: May 6, 2020

Preclerkship Students Integrated into Clinical Telehealth Initiative in COVID-19 Pandemic


Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) Telehealth Initiative is a student run volunteer telemedicine initiative to alleviate multidisciplinary healthcare workforce burden in the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical students offer pre-appointment physician support in various outpatient clinics (medicine, subspecialty, pediatrics, neurology, obstetrics, FM). They call patients 30 minutes prior to scheduled appointments to gather data for their visit including vital signs, HPI, ROS, and medication reconciliation information and virtually room patients into the telehealth platform. This process has greatly expedited clinical workflow for our physicians. First year medical students at our institution have limited clinical exposure. In an effort to support the expansion of the initiative, in the past week, 72 first year medical students were trained and integrated into the program. Within this one-week time span, the first-year students accounted for 136 successfully virtually roomed patients and over 60 hours of combined physician telemedicine support. The objectives from early M1 clinical exposure via telehealth are: 

  • Provide first year medical students with early clinical exposure. 
  • Develop effective communication and patient education skills 
  • Expose students to patients across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. 
  • Develop basic clinical skills: CC, HPI, Medication reconciliation, vitals. 
  • Develop documentation skills by writing succinct and accurate patient notes. 
  • Establish familiarity with EMR & Telehealth platforms. 
  • Effectively extract clinical data such as relevant laboratory results, cultures, diagnostic testing, and imaging 
  • Bridge the clinical support gap created by increasing demand for virtual appointments. (Initial Patient Visits (IPV) & follow-ups) 

This program will provide preclinical students with exposure to patient care and refine interpersonal skills. Teaching patients to use the telehealth platform can help students hone their patient education skills. The successful implementation of this model demonstrates that preclinical students can be used in a backup system to bolster the healthcare workforce in times of need.


Abhishek A. Chouthai, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Farsha Rizwan, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Hamsitha Jupalli, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Alec Weber, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Valeriya Gershteyn, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Daniel Levin, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 
Anoushka Dua, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 
Kitae Chang, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 
Catherine Chen MD, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 


Learner Audience

Graduate Medical Education (GME), Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD), Interprofessional


Practice Based Learning and Improvement

Resource Type(s)

Virtual Patient
Educational Technology
Patient – Teaching

Instructional Method(s)

Service Learning Activity
Clinical Experience- Ambulatory
Independent Learning


Communication, Telemedicine, Telehealth, Ambulatory, Technology, M1, Health Literacy, Medical Students, Outpatient, Development, Documentation, COVID-19, Clinical Workflow, Preclinical Students, Physician Support, Patient Rooming, Inter-professional Collaboration, Outpatient Clinic, M2, Value Added Service