Virtual Peer Teaching with Aquifer

May 19, 2020 | Perspectives

When the COVID 19 pandemic interrupted our first-year medical students’ longitudinal primary care practicum (PCP), we needed to find an alternative that addressed one of its most important goals: helping students to focus the comprehensive history, exam, and documentation that they’re taught in the clinical skills course into a primary care-appropriate presentation and SOAP note. Our thoughts turned quickly to Aquifer, which is used by our internal medicine and pediatrics clerkships. Many Aquifer cases integrate well with the basic science topics our first-year courses, but most seemed a little too advanced for a mid-first year student. At the same time, senior students were eager to find ways to help, so we decided to combine Aquifer cases with ‘virtual’ peer teaching via videoconference.


Adapting to a Shortened Virtual Clerkship

May 12, 2020 | Perspectives

Like many others, Boston University moved to a shortened virtual-only clerkship (packed with the full knowledge of our regular in-person 6-week clerkship, of course) in March of 2020. We were able to leverage Aquifer cases as a framework for preceptor discussion sessions and learning activities. The plan outlined below was for our 2-week virtual pediatrics clerkship, but I think the framework could apply to a variety of clerkships or courses transitioning to virtual group discussions.


Hospital Systems Learning: A Virtual Case-based Framework

May 12, 2020 | Perspectives

For those of us using virtual education time to prep students for eventual return to clinical settings, using an Aquifer case as a framework for an interactive orientation or hospital operations training session will better prepare students and interns to hit the ground running and take full advantage of rotations which, in many cases, have been shortened in duration.

Strategies for Flipping the Classroom with Aquifer

May 11, 2020 | Perspectives

Aquifer cases can form the basis for a huge variety of classroom sessions that can be easily adapted for virtual learning. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity if you are designing your own activity. Suggested strategies include…

A High-Value Care Course in the Era of COVID-19

April 27, 2020 | Perspectives

It may seem unusual to design and implement a medical student course focused on high-value care in the middle of a pandemic. As third and fourth-year medical students were pulled from clinical duties at the urging of the AAMC, educators at the University of Virginia School of Medicine developed a two-week online course. The course introduced students to an integrative, comprehensive model of high-value care applicable to future clinical practice.


Reframe: Aquifer Cases as Virtual Standardized Patients

April 23, 2020 | Perspectives

Many educators are wondering how to meaningfully engage their students in distance learning activities that create community and allow them to practice important patient care skills (while not seeing patients). While I have been doing peer-to-peer consults with educators around the country about using Aquifer cases in their curriculum, I stumbled into a helpful reframe that seems to be unlocking people’s creativity: Aquifer cases (yep…more than 170 of them!) are virtual standardized patients. Wait…what?