Telemedicine Clinical Training Gives Marist Physician Assistant Students an Edge

The College’s Physician Assistant Program has partnered with MonitorMe for an innovative clinical experience for student PAs.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—As COVID-19 protocols have limited doctor visits, telemedicine is becoming a more significant part of the health care landscape. According to the American Hospitals Association, 76% of U.S. hospitals connect with patients and consulting practitioners through the use of video and other technology. To bring student training forward to meet this need, Marist’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program has embarked on an innovative partnership to offer PA students direct clinical experience in this growing area of medical practice with the Hudson Valley-based telemedicine firm, MonitorMe.

A key component of the College’s 24-month program is a 12-month clinical phase in which students work onsite with numerous healthcare partner agencies in the community. The pandemic has created some challenges for meeting this training requirement.

MonitorMe’s Lead Physician Assistant Jonathan Humphreys was a guest lecturer in Marist’s program and saw an opportunity for PAs in training to build key skills. “I was always interested in the idea of students having the opportunity to be in our unique environment. I remember having stellar rotations in PA school and having some where there were too many students to compete with to see individual patients,” said Humphreys. “My goal was to provide a learning environment where the PA students would be able to have the individual attention from their preceptor and as many interactions with our patient population as possible.”

MonitorMe, an all-in-one health and wellness concierge monitoring program that serves elderly patients in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, uses new technology to monitor patient health, provide acute care to nursing home residents, and ease social isolation by checking in with patients.

Marist PA Program Clinical Coordinator Dr. Erin McLaughlin, MPH, was keenly interested in a telemedicine training option for her students. By 2020, with some limits on clinical placements for students due to the pandemic, the partnership was also a necessity. During the fall semester, six Marist PA students were placed with the firm—a first for MonitorMe and for the program.

“We are currently sending students to MonitorMe as part of our newly created telemedicine and remote learning course. A major theme of this course is introducing students to the concept of telemedicine and giving them an opportunity to practice delivering care through both simulated telemedicine encounters and through real-life telemedicine encounters with the MonitorMe team,” said McLaughlin. “These are key skills for PAs to develop as medical care delivery is rapidly changing.”
She noted the partnership not only makes great sense; it provides students with an intensive experience. “The Monitor Me team offers our students an opportunity to not just observe, but to actively participate in patient care,” she explained.

The students in rotation at MonitorMe observe doctors and spend the day at a desk (socially distanced from their preceptor) and can remotely interview, examine, write notes for provider review and review cases with experienced PAs. “As many of the students have already had internal medicine, surgery, and other rotations they are already well versed in how to interact with our patient populations,” said Humphreys. “Their entire day is spent discussing medicine and interesting cases.”

Lauren Capo ‘21, a physician assistant student at Marist, concurred. “Telemedicine is absolutely an important skill for PAs. Most private practices including family medicine have now adopted telemedicine software. They have realized the many benefits telemedicine offers, such as convenience for patients and cost effectiveness for the practice,” Capo explained. “Having this skill will look great on my resume and differentiate my job application from other candidates who may not have had experience with telemedicine software.”

The timing could not be better. Humphreys said the pandemic has been a game changer for medicine. “Post-pandemic, the need for telemedicine will likely be redoubled, as there will now be a subgroup of patients that will prefer to never go to the doctor’s office unless necessary.”

About MonitorMe
MonitorMe™ is an all-in-one health and wellness concierge monitoring program. With the simple touch of a button, patients can instantly communicate with a Nurse, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner or Physician 24/7/365 through the MonitorMe tablet, powered by proprietary software. MonitorMe provides patients with FDA-cleared patches and other FDA-approved technology that streams their health information in real-time to a Monitoring Intervention Center (MIC), where MonitorMe clinicians can immediately evaluate patients’ conditions and intervene as necessary. For more information, visit www.monitor-me.com.

About Marist
Located on the banks of the historic Hudson River and at its Florence, Italy campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Its mission is to “help students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Marist is consistently ranked among the best colleges and universities in America by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures and The Best 386 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (3rd Most Innovative School/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. The College is top-ranked for long-term study abroad (#3 in the U.S.) by the U.S. State Department’s Open Doors report. The College also operates the Institute for Data Center Professionals, which provides individuals and corporate teams with skills-based education and credentialing to support the data center and enterprise computing environments of the future. Marist educates more than 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students in 47 undergraduate majors and numerous graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees, and also Doctor of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant programs. www.marist.edu