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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Residency training takes place primarily on inpatient wards. In the absence of a resident continuity clinic, internal medicine residents rely on block rotations to learn about continuity of care. Alternate methods to introduce continuity of care are needed.
A web-based tool, Continuity of Care Online Simulations (COCOS), was designed for use in a one-month, postgraduate clinical rotation in endocrinology. It is an interactive tool that simulates the continuing care of any patient with a chronic endocrine disease. Twenty-three residents in internal medicine participated in a study to investigate the effects of using COCOS during a clinical rotation in endocrinology on pre-post knowledge test scores and self-assessment of confidence.
Compared to residents who did the rotation alone, residents who used COCOS during the rotation had significantly higher improvements in test scores (% increase in pre-post test scores +21.6 [standard deviation, SD, 8.0] vs. +5.9 [SD 6.8]; p < .001). Test score improvements were most pronounced for less commonly seen conditions. There were no significant differences in changes in confidence. Residents rated COCOS very highly, recommending its use as a standard part of the rotation and throughout residency.
A stand-alone web-based tool can be incorporated into an existing clinical rotation to help residents learn about continuity of care. It has the most potential to teach residents about topics that are less commonly seen during a clinical rotation. The adaptable, web-based format allows the creation of cases for most chronic medical conditions.