When in-person clinical rotations were canceled because of the pandemic, faculty and students brainstormed alternative activities to satisfy learning objectives and contribute to patient care. The result was an opportunity to work in telemedicine and help run a transfer hotline.

Caroline Franke (’20), Bethany Bruno (’21) and Suresh Garudadri (’20) organized telemedicine experiences for third-, fourth- and fifth-year medical students with the help of Neil Mehta, MBBS, MS, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Curricular Affairs, and Skylar Kalady, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

The students used telemedicine to virtually contact patients who have been tested for COVID-19 to inform them of their result status and offer instructions and guidance on what to do next. Physicians from across Cleveland Clinic volunteered to serve as virtual preceptors for the students.

This telemedicine opportunity not only reduced the burden on Cleveland Clinic caregivers and allowed patients to receive results in a timely manner, but also gave the students the chance to connect with potential COVID-19 patients, learn about and address their concerns, and gain experience using telemedicine.

Bethany led a separate team, under the guidance of Cleveland Clinic Medical Operations, that ran a transfer hotline. As part of a city-wide effort between healthcare institutions, the team fielded calls from rural hospitals seeking to transfer their patients to either University Hospitals or Cleveland Clinic to receive a higher level of care.