Anderson Spickard, III, MD, MS, Joshua C. Denny, MD, Joseph Gigante, MD Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
Background: Communication via clinical notes is a major goal of medical training. Students engage in patient experiences and produce clinical write-ups that enter the patient's chart. Traditional feedback methods whereby teachers evaluate and revise these write-ups are lacking.
Objective: To determine if an automated, electronic clinical portfolio can improve feedback on student write-ups.
Methods: We developed an electronic clinical portfolio that automatically collects all students' clinical notes and notifies their teachers (housestaff and attending physicians) via email. We randomized students to use the electronic portfolio or traditional paper means. Teachers in the portfolio group provide feedback directly on the student's write-up using a web browser. Students and teachers were surveyed after their rotations to assess the frequency and quality of feedback and the value of the electronic portfolio system.
Results: Students who used the system reported that they received feedback on a higher fraction of their write-ups and that the system was a valuable learning tool. Teachers reported they gave more frequent and detailed feedback using the Portfolio system. All agreed the system was easy to use.
Conclusion: An electronic clinical portfolio can provide an automatic repository for student's clinical encounters and improve teacher feedback on student's clinical notes.