Purpose: To determine whether longitudinal student involvement improves patient satisfaction with care.
Method: The authors conducted a satisfaction survey of patients followed by 10 University of Minnesota Medical School students enrolled in 2016-2017 in the Veterans Affairs Longitudinal Undergraduate Medical Education (VALUE) program, a longitudinal integrated clerkship at the Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System. Students were embedded in an ambulatory practice with primary preceptors who assigned students a panel of 14 to 32 patients to follow longitudinally in inpatient and outpatient settings. Control patients, matched on disease severity, were chosen from the preceptor's panel. Two to five months after the students completed the VALUE program, the authors conducted a phone survey of the VALUE and control patients using a validated, customized questionnaire.
Results: Results are reported from 97 VALUE patients (63% response rate) and 72 controls (47% response rate) who had similar baseline characteristics. Compared with control patients, VALUE patients reported greater satisfaction with explanations provided by their health care provider, their provider's knowledge of their personal history, and their provider's looking out for their best interests (P < .05). Patients in the VALUE panel selected the top category more often than control patients for overall satisfaction with their health care (65% vs 43%, P < .05).
Conclusions: The results of this controlled trial demonstrate that VALUE student longitudinal participation in patient care improves patient satisfaction and patient-perceived quality of health care for VALUE patients compared with controls matched by primary care provider and disease severity. These findings may have implications outside the Veterans Administration population.