Implementing Value-Added Medical Education: Lessons Learned From the Student-Initiated "Stanford Frontline" COVID-19 Consult Service

Acad Med. 2021 May 11. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004160. Online ahead of print.


Problem: Value-added medical education (VAME) has been difficult to implement due to student and educator constraints. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a mass transition to online learning, removed students from clinical settings, and underscored students' desires for meaningful VAME opportunities. The authors introduced the Stanford Frontline COVID-19 Consult Service (SFCS), through which off-service medical and physician assistant (PA) students provided assistance to clinicians in the form of rapid research regarding COVID-19 clinical questions.

Approach: The SFCS, a student-derived VAME initiative, was implemented from March to May 2020 by Stanford University medical students, PA students, and faculty. SFCS aligned with not only the interests of clinicians and students, but also national accreditation standards. Students attended weekly editorial meetings, didactic sessions on literature reviews and information management, and they underwent rigorous training on the peer-review process. After two months, the authors expanded the service to local community clinicians.

Outcomes: The SFCS enrolled 16 students, was supported by 13 faculty members, and produced 87 peer-reviewed evidence syntheses. Of the 16 SFCS students, 13 (81%) completed evaluations; of 128 Stanford Primary Care and Population Health clinicians, 48 (38%) completed evaluations. Overall student satisfaction with the SFCS was 4.9/5 (standard deviation [SD] 0.3). Self-assessed achievement of SFCS learning objectives exceeded 90% for all objectives. Overall faculty satisfaction with the SFCS was 4.4/5 (SD 0.8). Most faculty (40/46 [87%]) planned to use the database to answer future COVID-19 questions.

Next steps: The SFCS is a novel, student-initiated VAME curriculum focused on increasing students' meaningful contributions to patient care. The authors will track SFCS students throughout their clerkships to gauge clerkship performance/preparedness, and they will develop training for integrating VAME into preclerkship curricula at other institutions. Given its adaptive, student-driven design, the VAME framework used to develop the SFCS empowers students to create their own personalized, experiential learning.