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GMS J Med Educ. 2018 Feb 15;35(1):Doc11. doi: 10.3205/zma001158. eCollection 2018.

Integrating teaching into routine outpatient care: The design and evaluation of an ambulatory training concept (HeiSA).

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Clinic for General Internal Medicine and Psychosomatics, Heidelberg, Germany.
Clinic for General Psychiatry, Heidelberg, Germany.


in English, German

Background: Direct patient contact is crucial in learning important interactional and examination skills. However, medical students have limited opportunity to self-responsibly practise these skills in authentic clinical settings and typically receive insufficient feedback on their performance. We developed a novel single-session ambulatory teaching concept (Heidelberg Student Ambulatory training, "HeiSA") to prepare students more adequately for clinical-practical responsibilities. Methods: To identify challenges and target group needs, we reviewed current literature and consulted an expert group of faculty lecturers and training researchers. The resulting course concept was put into practice at the University Hospital's general-internistic outpatient department and evaluated in a pilot phase (winter term 2010, ten participants) and a main project phase (summer and winter terms 2011, 14 and 21 participants, respectively). Third and fourth-year students autonomously take a new patient's medical history and conduct a complete physical examination in one hour under supervision, followed by extensive preceptor feedback. To assess learning achievements, participants and a control group self-rated their communication and examination skills before and (participants only) after the session on six-point Likert scales (1=completely able, 6=completely unable). The preceptor also evaluated the participants' performance. Finally, all stakeholders re-evaluated the course concept. Results: HeiSA is a feasible training concept and accepted by staff members and students. It provides opportunities to practise clinical skills in a relevant, authentic learning environment with extensive feedback. Participants report improved anamnesis (0.27±0.51, p=.003) and physical examination (0.25±0.41, p=.008) skills. The preceptor evaluated students' performance to be generally high, with ratings ranging from 1.40±0.55 (item: the student does not interrupt the patient) to 2.51±0.89 (item: psychosocial anamnesis). Conclusions: HeiSA is a viable course concept for teaching anamnesis and physical examination skills. It integrates student teaching into routine care and can potentially be adapted to other outpatient departments.


ambulatory care; anamnesis; curriculum development; examination skills; teaching

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