Medical trainees express uncertainty regarding antimicrobial choices. Didactics typically use tables and lists to convey information. Such formats are dry and difficult to apply to actual medical scenarios when clinicians integrate three disciplines: microbiology, pharmacology, and physiology.
An online application is under construction to allow learners to navigate clinical infectious disease (ID) scenarios from three different disciplines. Users first select from three distinct disciplines: microbe, antimicrobial, or disease/organ system (Figure 1). Subsequently, the user explores mind-maps and makes selections to narrow the focus to a particular pathogen, antimicrobial, or disease process (Figure 2). Links throughout enable users to easily switch to a different discipline. Medical students and residents have evaluated prototypes in focus groups and surveys. Ultimately, the tools impact will be assessed qualitatively via user subjective appraisal of clinical ID confidence and quantitatively via quizzes and expert review of clinical ID decisions pre- and post-participation.
Figure 1. Initial screen
Figure 2. Example of sub-section of a mind-map
Focus groups and surveys with medical trainees (n = 32) reveal low confidence with clinical ID (mean = 4.3 on a 10-point scale, with 10 = very confident). Organization of information and associations between antimicrobials, microbes, and diseases were commonly cited as barriers to increased confidence. Respondents reported they would use the application at least a few times per week (71%) and the application would help them review material (94%), make clinical decisions (88%), and learn new material (63%). Trends in feedback revealed that the branching-diagrams and ability to navigate between disciplines appealed to users.
An interactive online application is under construction to teach clinical ID and help medical trainees retain and apply their knowledge. Its impact and utility will be measured with subjective and objective data. Focus groups indicate this tool will be beneficial. The application will foster healthcare confidence and further clinical inquiry, and potentially decrease inappropriate antimicrobial use, improve patient outcomes, and reduce adverse effects and costs.
P. Pottinger, None
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