Background: A challenge to the practice of third-year clerkship rotations at remote locations is the maintenance of equivalent didactic lectures, especially in subspecialty components. There has been little objective assessment of the results of videoconference lectures on medical student clerkship education. Methods: Third-year surgical clerkship students, randomly assigned to a 4-week rotation 75 miles from the medical school, received subspecialty lectures by interactive teleconference via an ISDN line at 128 kb/s. Weekly quiz results (% correct) of students who received videoconference lectures were compared with students receiving conventional lectures, and were analyzed by 2-tailed t tests for equality of means. Results: A mean of 12 students were tested per quiz (range, 5-21 students) after videoconference lectures, and 98 students were tested after conventional lectures (range, 41-146 students). The mean quiz score of students receiving video lectures was 70.5% (range, 65.4% to 73.6%); and after conventional lectures the mean quiz score was 71.4% (range, 69.5% to 76.8%). There were no significant differences in the mean scores of the individual quizzes (P =. 16-.92) or between the totals (P =. 65). Conclusions: Telemedicine, using interactive videoconferencing, is an effective method for didactic lectures in a surgical clerkship. This technology allows students to receive interactive lectures at distant clinical sites and limit their travel.
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