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Teaching as a Tool to Manage Chronic Disease

When med students educate patients, both gain skills and confidence

Scheduled into 15-minute slots, most clinic visits are shorter than a commute or a lunch break. When chronic disease patients get extra attention in the form of 45-minute follow-up conversations with medical students, they learn skills to manage their conditions. A recent study that focused on an underserved population, which typically sees higher rates of chronic disease and less access to accurate health information, demonstrated the benefits of the education efforts. As an added benefit, medical students gained confidence teaching without adding to physicians’ already-packed schedules.

Patients who participated in the study took a questionnaire assessment three weeks after their training session that showed their attitudes, ability to navigate health services, and ability to self-monitor had all improved since before the session.

“This is encouraging because these diseases typically require patients to take on a lot of responsibility in their care, often through changes in lifestyle,” said lead researcher Dr. Alexis Stoner, director of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Read more in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.