Developed with funding from the Foundation’s Clinician Scholar Educator Award, Dr. Dall’Era’s app introduces students to the field through a meaningful and engaging experience. Early exposure to rheumatology prepares medical students and new doctors to care for those living with rheumatic diseases and may lead to an increased interest in pursuing a career in rheumatology in the future.
Practice Improvement Using Virtual Online Training (PIVOT) is a mobile virtual patient simulation that allows medical students to evaluate a virtual patient’s records, view interviews and exams, and order lab tests just as they would in a clinical setting. Students must sort through all of the information, identify which facts are most relevant and eventually diagnose the virtual patient. In the process, they use the app to answer open-ended questions, work in a team with other students and receive real-time feedback from an instructor. All of these features can be accessed on a smartphone, which fits the busy life of a medical student.
The PIVOT app can be exported to other medical schools, making it especially useful in settings with limited access to rheumatology specialists and rheumatology education. PIVOT sparks interest in rheumatology and introduces students to the field through a meaningful and engaging experience.
Understanding & improving patient & physician decision making
Research improves our understanding of both physician and patient decision making. Beyond understanding, scientifically sound methods that incorporate patients’ preferences into complex decisions involving difficult trade-offs are needed. Insights from the work of Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, are helping develop methods that patients and physicians can use to better navigate treatment options.
Dr. Fraenkel’s research interest is in developing robust and practical methods to elicit patient treatment preferences and to improve medical decision making. Her work has highlighted trends in decision making, which have important clinical implications. For example, research published in Arthritis Care & Research found an interactive, online support tool can assist patients with RA make the decision to escalate care with biologic agents.
With support from the Foundation’s Innovative Research Award, Dr. Fraenkel has developed tools for patients that improve the likelihood of patients being informed of their available treatment preferences, improve patient–physician communication and improve the likelihood patients will have a treatment plan developed concordant with their values.