An innovative and authentic way of learning how to consult remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Philip Cannon* (Corresponding Author), Linzi Lumsden, Valerie Wass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Medical students preparing to undertake general practice (GP) placements need to be equipped with the unique skills required to successfully utilise and adapt to current and emerging remote consultation modalities used in primary care and integrate this into their day-to-day clinical practice. Medical educators needed to flexibly and quickly cater learning to the evolving landscape.A three-hour teaching session was devised to be delivered to 50 students online via Microsoft Teams™ and facilitated by five general practice tutors in groups of 10, prior to students' GP placements. In pre-assigned pairs, students undertook two role-play scenarios for the main remote modalities of telephone and video-consultations. E-consultations were explored via discussion of simulated encounters. The authentic technology pertinent to each modality was used; this included a training version of NHS Scotland's Near Me IT platform for video-consultations, the students' own mobile phones for telephone consultations and simulated PDFs generated using the e-consultation facility. Teaching was evaluated via a student focus group pre and post placement.Student feedback was positive. The session prepared them for their placement and increased their confidence. They suggested this teaching be incorporated earlier in the medical school curriculum. They appreciated learning with the same IT platforms used on placement. Some students had no prior experience of remote consultations and subsequently were expected to undertake independent remote consultations almost immediately upon arrival.Careful design of challenging scenarios mirroring common GP presentations via remote modalities can increase student preparedness and confidence prior to GP placements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages7
JournalEducation for Primary Care
Issue number1
Early online date29 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the GP tutors and medical students who were involved in this teaching.We would also like to thank Dr Christine Kay and the University of Aberdeen for providing PC with funding in the form of the Summer Medical Education Scholarship.


  • COVID-19
  • General Practice
  • Medical Education
  • Remote Consultations
  • Telemedicine


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