The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the rapid transition of in-person outpatient care to telemedicine, and clinical training to remote learning.

The endocrinology fellows at the University of Michigan maintain their own continuity-of-care clinics and rotate in the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System. For these clinics, we sought to preserve patient staffing with expert attending physicians and continue the clinical training experience in a remote setting.

We have adapted the online conferencing platform, Zoom, to integrate learners into a virtual teaching clinic environment. By using the Zoom “breakout room” feature, fellows are able to match staffing attending physicians to different patient cases, according to attending physicians’ areas of specialty. Similar to the traditional teaching clinic environment, our remote staffing strategy has ensured that fellows continue to provide excellent patient care and fulfill educational aims across our University and VA facilities.

Outpatient clinics in other University of Michigan departments and other academic centers have inquired about or have begun utilizing our method. Even beyond COVID-19, our paradigm potentially provides a convenient virtual staffing platform to serve patient populations with geographic or transportation challenges. Following implementation, stakeholders can regularly evaluate the approach to continually improve both patient care and medical education.

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