Teaching Best Practices; Building Future Practice Success
By taking the best practices in clinical education and making them our practice, Logan students are taught how to succeed beyond the classroom … and that is our ultimate educational mission.
On the campus today, you’ll find a 13,000 square-foot facility that demonstrates Logan’s commitment to best practices. When the newly constructed educational wing opens its doors next month, inside Logan students will find what Logan President Dr. George A. Goodman
refers to as the “building’s jewel”—the assessment center—designed to help Logan graduates shine in practice.
For decades, Logan’s student health centers have served as launching pads for future chiropractors, providing students with access to patients and an opportunity to apply their chiropractic techniques and classroom lessons before graduation. Now, the assessment center will effectively insert a critical layer between the students’ coursework and their clinical rotations, providing realtime clinical assessments for improved patient care.
Designed for Outcome Measures
The assessment center will house eight “real-world-inspired” exam rooms for students to treat patients. The independent exam rooms form a border around a central viewing area. In this observation room, faculty members can evaluate the patient exam without disrupting the student-patient interaction.
Once patient exams are complete, Logan faculty will offer immediate evaluations of students’ performance, considering the effectiveness of their clinical examinations to their communication skills.
“Assessment centers are valued as a best practice in health care education and we strive to provide our students with evidence-based training and best practices,” said Dr. Carl W. Saubert, IV, PhD, acting vice president of academic affairs.
With real-time faculty reviews nearly a reality for students, the Logan administration recognizes that another key outcome will take more time to materialize.
“While this center provides a mechanism for instantaneous assessments of the development and success of a future doctor of chiropractic, long term the facility will serve as a foundation for improving patient care both on and off the Logan campus,” said Dr. Saubert. “The assessment center’s patient care outcomes truly go beyond measure.”
As the assessment center began to take shape on the Logan campus, college officials knew the facility would require more than innovative design to reach its educational and health care goals … and that’s when Dr. Nicholas Farha, Logan’s associate dean of educational technology, knocked on Dr. Goodman’s door.
Dr. Farha has helped Logan with other technology needs. He connects Logan’s online students to their graduate-level coursework via the Blackboard® learning management software—chalk need not apply.
With his Blackboard networking experience—providing online students with automated PowerPoint presentations, notes, Internet lectures and other supplemental materials—Dr. Farha approached Dr. Goodman about overseeing the assessment center’s Web-SP software. This technology platform will power the students’ pre- and post-encounter stations. Here’s how it works. Logan students will log on to a preencounter station. On the screen, they’ll read about their patient assignments, the patients’ reported symptoms and will receive their exam room numbers.
For learning purposes, Logan students will treat “standardized patients.” These “patients” are paid actors who will demonstrate the symptoms reported via the pre-encounter station. Their symptoms will range from low-back pain to congestive heart failure.
“In schools where students are medically trained—such as with nurses—patient simulators are a best practice,” said Dr. Elizabeth Goodman, Logan’s dean of university programs. “Simulators alone won’t work for chiropractic students, although they are part of the plan. We have to practice our techniques on live patients, and standardized patients provide early exposure to patient care, diverse symptoms and complex case management.”
Following the patient exam, students visit their post-encounter stations where they record their deferential diagnoses, practice writing their patient notes and reports, and, if needed, type letters for referring doctors. Web-SP, powered by Dr. Farha, provides the interactive components at the stations. For instance, student entries will prompt questions, such as: How did you reach this
diagnosis? The student doctor will then justify and record their rationale.
Dr. Saubert said this platform helps students consider the entire spectrum of patient care, from promoting accurate diagnoses and treatment protocols to learning how to document cases for insurance reimbursement.
The assessment center also will boast audio and video recording technology. Dr. Farha says the cameras can zoom-in on students’ hands to help them hone an adjusting technique, or they can capture their facial expressions so students can see how they interact with patients.
“We can leverage the educational benefits of the assessment center at the onset of our Logan curricula,” said Dr. Saubert. “For example, we plan to take our first-year students inside the assessment center and teach them techniques, like motion palpation, or ask them to challenge the third vertebra on a fellow student. We will videotape them practicing these skills and then take the
footage back inside the classroom to review the technique with the students and measure their performance and progress. The lessons learned at the assessment center and captured by our video and audio technology will provide us with perpetual learning and instructional tools.”
Dr. Saubert says observing and improving students’ chiropractic techniques is only one application of the assessment center and its technology. “We’ll monitor our students and cultivate their skills through every step of the patient care process—from taking a patient’s history to their overall rapport with a patient,” he said. “We understand that doctors of chiropractic must possess effective communication skills if they are to educate patients and promote compliance. Now more than ever, the ability to communicate is a game changer in practice.”
Dr. Saubert says the Logan faculty will evaluate students’ eye contact with patients, their explanations of diagnoses and proposed treatment protocols as well as their overall patient rapport.
Built for Future Success
Dr. George Goodman remains confident that years from now the Logan community will celebrate all the educational benefits the assessment center promises to offer, not only because the center is a proven best practice but because it was built on the needs of the Logan student.
“I often speak of Logan College’s commitment to blending tradition with innovation to help our students succeed,” said Dr. George Goodman. “The assessment center embodies this pledge, leveraging Logan’s excellence in chiropractic teachings while providing an innovative training ground to offer our graduates a competitive edge in practice. Whether we are modernizing our
curricula or campus, every improvement and every investment is made with the success of the graduate in mind.”