Use and Application of Home Testing Products: An Interactive Lab Experience
Kristen L. DiDonato and Maqual R. Graham
Division of Pharmacy Practice and Administration
The Self-care and Nonprescription Pharmacotherapy course at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to care for patients in the community. A variety of common ailments are covered within the curriculum, providing students with the tools to assess patients, recommend nonprescription therapies or refer patients to their primary care provider. Course objectives are met through large group, case-based discussion in lecture and a small group, case-based discussion in the laboratory.
Home Testing Products is one example of lecture topics taught within the course. A variety of home testing products typically available for purchase in community pharmacies was acquired to provide students with a hands-on learning experience. The expectation was to provide students with the knowledge to successfully apply learned information to patient case scenarios.
Students, working in twenty-two small groups, were assigned to one of eleven stations where they were afforded thirty minutes to evaluate home testing products. Stations included products related to fertility, pregnancy, vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, blood pressure, fecal occult blood, skin abnormalities, cholesterol, allergies, and ear infections. For each station, one student per group was assigned to teach the class what was learned about available products including what the product measures, the process by which the test produces a result, and what might interfere with the test result. The student was also asked to describe how a patient should be taught to use the home testing product. The student then discussed the patient case. Selected questions required audience response, via color-coded cards, in an effort to keep the entire class engaged. Students were encouraged to listen and internalize information presented for each home testing product as opposed to taking notes. Therefore, a key was posted after the laboratory session to provide students with information on the various home tests.
Students completed a pre- and post- laboratory experience survey to determine if they felt they learned useful and applicable information from the activity, if the activity format and use of patient case scenarios enhanced their learning, and if their confidence in recommending and educating patients about home testing products improved. The pre- and post-survey contained five questions aimed to assess student knowledge and confidence in subject material. In an effort to determine if the interactive, patient-centered lab experience impacted student perception of their knowledge of home testing products, four additional questions were asked.
One hundred sixteen students completed the survey prior to the home testing interactive experience. Of those, 23% felt that they were knowledgeable regarding home testing products. Only 11% and 13% felt confident in their abilities to assist patients in need of home testing products and explaining their use, respectively. Eleven percent felt they were able to counsel patients regarding results from the various products where 17% felt they knew when not to recommend but refer them to a provider for additional care.
The results of the survey improved following the interactive lab experience however eight fewer students responded to the survey. An increase of roughly 60% was seen in the student’s response to feeling knowledgeable about home testing products. Seventy-seven percent felt confident in their ability to assist patients in need of a home testing product and 72% felt confident when explaining use of the product, both of which were considered significant improvements in student confidence. Seventy-seven percent felt they were able to counsel patients regarding results from the various products where 73% felt they knew when not to recommend but refer them to a provider for additional care.
Eighty-nine percent of responders felt that the lab activity improved their knowledge of home testing products. Additionally, 77% and 82% felt that incorporating patient cases into the experience improved their understanding of home testing products and helped them to apply their knowledge of products respectively. More than two-thirds (71%) of those surveyed felt that the format for the lab exercise enhanced their knowledge and application of home testing products.
Most students required more than 30 minutes to evaluate their product and answer the case questions. Consequently the majority of students did not get the opportunity to interact with additional home testing products outside of their assigned group station. One consideration for future experiences is to pass the products around the room during the student presentations, providing each student the opportunity to interact with each product. Overall this lab experience was effective and well-received. We are thankful to FaCET for providing the funding to make this learning opportunity possible.