Evaluation of an interprofessional learning experience for telephone consultations

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Background and Purpose: There is limited training for healthcare students in the performance of telephone consultations. To facilitate communication between healthcare professionals when face-to-face interactions are not possible, a telephone consultation simulation was developed. The simulation involved students in a doctor of physical therapy program and senior medical students. This study aimed to explore the development and suitability of a simulated case with a focus on interprofessional telephone consultation. Methods: A convenience sample of 28 physical therapy students and 38 medical students from two institutions in southwest Virginia participated in the simulation experience. To assess the outcomes of the simulation on interprofessional communication, the IPASS verbal handoff assessment was performed by the participants and focus group interviews occurred immediately following the experience. In addition, an assessment of key information pro-vided during the conversation was performed for each of the seven interprofessional groups. Results: Students demonstrated near perfect agreement on the IPASS assessment. Five of the seven interprofessional groups perceived that they were able to communicate key information and collectively agree upon a recommendation for the continuation of the patient assessment. The two groups that demonstrated more difficulty with communication appeared to struggle with communicating the patient’s past medical history relevant to the current situation, despite the majority of students feeling confident in their communications. In addition, two themes were presented during the interprofessional focus group interviews: 1) clear communication to maintain patient safety and 2) efficiently conveying the patient’s background. Discussion: The health professions students participating in the scenario were able to consistently note the communication skills observed and reflect upon the need for clear communication between providers during a patient consultation. Key components of an efficient telephone consultation were identified, along with opportunities to improve this type of interaction between health professionals.



communication skills, interprofessional clinical consultation, interprofessional education, telephone medicine, 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy