Lessons Learned: The Use of Innovative Technology in Interprofessional Curriculum for Care of Rural and Underserved Older Adults with Late-life Depression
Background: Experts from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Aging Initiative united to eliminate mental health disparities in primary care settings. There is poor access to mental health care for rural and underserved older adults, yet there are limited programs to eliminate this disparity. Our effort aligns with interprofessional education and clinical practice as we proposed to integrate innovative technology into graduate student clinical learning activities to improve mental health care of rural and underserved older adults.
Methodology: Our interprofessional team developed three online training modules for the mental health education of graduate students including pharmacy, nurse practitioner, gerontology, and medical students. The Acano application was downloaded on tablets that were provided to students. Acano is HIPAA compliant and provides synchronous face-to-face interactions with students at the point of care, while instructors are located elsewhere. High-fidelity simulations, videos, and standardized patients were used to further interprofessional education.
Results: Three active-learning online training modules include mental health disparities, late-life depression, and geriatric pharmacology for approximately 142 graduate students (n=4 unidentified profession ; (n=27) pharmacy; n=99 nurse practitioner; n=12 medical students). Student evaluations demonstrated that information was retained better using innovative technology than using traditional methods.
Faculty implemented Blackboard (Learning Management System) in the delivery of course modules and discussions. Data was collected through Blackboard mechanisms to evaluate the program. The Acano app decreased travel cost and allowed more efficient use of faculty time resulting in increased participation in clinical service-learning activities in the rural areas.
Innovative technology facilitated patient-student interaction for faculty view and feedback in real time. Faculty virtually supervised the service-learning activities. Onsite and remote simulations were used to train students for real life situations. This was effective in promoting interprofessional competencies and team based care. Students produced a video to role play the experience of the older adult with depression. Active learning presentations were enacted for on how to build a Culture of Health in Arkansas.
Goal: Accelerate interprofessional education in clinical practice to improve mental health care for rural older adults through the use of innovative technology.
Lessons Learned: Technology is an underused method in the education of the interprofessional team and in reaching older persons with mental health disparities. Faculty, students and older adults respond well to innovative technology.
After this session the learner will be able to:
- Implement one strategy for incorporating geriatric mental health into simulations.
- Use technology to apply interprofessional competencies to build team based care in geriatric mental health.
- Integrate innovative technology into interprofessional curriculum to eliminate health disparities for rural and underserved older adults with depression.