Crossing the Virtual Chasm: Practical Considerations for Rethinking Curriculum, Competency, and Culture in the Virtual Care Era

Marcy B. Bolster, Shruti Chandra, Bart M. Demaerschalk, Christine D. Esper, Julian Z. Genkins, Emily M. Hayden, Aswita Tan-Mcgrory, Lee H. Schwamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Virtual care, introduced previously as a replacement for in-person visits, is now being integrated into clinical care delivery models to complement in-person visits. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up this process. The rapid uptake of virtual care at the start of the pandemic prevented educators from taking deliberate steps to design the foundational elements of the related learning environment, including workflow, competencies, and assessment methods. Educators must now pursue an informed and purposeful approach to design a curriculum and implement virtual care in the learning environment. Engaging learners in virtual care offers opportunities for novel ways to teach and assess their performance and to effectively integrate technology such that it is accessible and equitable. It also offers opportunities for learners to demonstrate professionalism in a virtual environment, to obtain a patient's history incorporating interpersonal and communication skills, to interact with multiple parties during a patient encounter (patient, caregiver, translator, telepresenter, faculty member), to enhance physical examination techniques via videoconferencing, and ideally to optimize demonstrations of empathy through "webside manner." Feedback and assessment, important features of training in any setting, must be timely, specific, and actionable in the new virtual care environment. Recognizing the importance of integrating virtual care into education, leaders from across the United States convened on September 10, 2020, for a symposium titled, "Crossing the Virtual Chasm: Rethinking Curriculum, Competency, and Culture in the Virtual Care Era." In this article, the authors share recommendations that came out of this symposium for the implementation of educational tools in the evolving virtual care environment. They present core competencies, assessment tools, precepting workflows, and technology to optimize the delivery of high-quality virtual care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-846
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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