The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) is a medical association in the United States consisting of physicians and non-physician specialists in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Founded in 1935, it has a global membership of over 20,000 specialists.
Advancing the best health outcomes for patients through education, advocacy, research, and philanthropy, CHEST is the leading professional association in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chest diseases.
Focused on improving patient care, CHEST provides hands-on educational opportunities for clinicians and develops breakthrough educational programming designed to close gaps in care and enhance the relationship between patient and provider.
One of these programs focuses on empathetic listening to improve trust and patient care. Developed in partnership with the Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH), the First 5 Minutes program provides training to help clinicians build the skills that lead to a positive relationship with their patients during the first moments of the interaction.
Originally launched as in-person training, CHEST utilised Bodyswaps' technology to create two immersive modules that permit learners to practically apply their knowledge of the program in an immersive setting.
Bodyswaps collaborated with subject matter experts, including clinicians from CHEST and ACH, and organised workshops to develop a lifelike patient scenario. The training modules revolve around Ally, a patient with a persistent pulmonary condition and recent complications, and demonstrate how the First 5 Minutes program can be utilised during the clinician's initial conversation to:
- Encourage the patient to share as many details as possible about not only their illness but details of their lives that may impact their health, and
- Increase trust in the clinician.
These two VR modules allow clinicians to concentrate on the individual needs of each patient in the first five minutes of their interaction to facilitate better patient/clinician relationships that ultimately result in better patient care. The modules serve as a skills practice to the online educational program's e-learning modules, which introduce strategies for quickly creating rapport, responding with empathy, and building relationships with patients.
For healthcare professionals, the initial minutes of an interaction with a patient is critical but challenging. It requires a fine balance of collecting necessary facts and building rapport to uncover what the patient may need.
The VR modules offer clinicians a unique opportunity to practice utilising the CHEST First 5 Minutes program in a secure psychological environment. The advantages of this patient-centred approach are two-fold: facilitating patients to discuss important details that may remain unvoiced and building trust with them. A patient's confidence in their clinician is invaluable. Studies demonstrate that trust enables clinicians to provide better medical advice, making patients more likely to comply.
The skills practice featured in the two VR modules teaches learners how to:
- Reflect on implicit bias and turn assumptions into curiosity
- Create rapport through small talk
- Elicit a list of all patient concerns and prioritise
- Negotiate an agenda for the visit while addressing your own clinical goals
- Explore the patient's personal story
- Respond with empathy through appropriate PEARLS statements (Partnership, Emotion, Apology/Appreciation, Respect, Legitimisation, and Support)