Need/Background: Optometric students learn about medical recordkeeping, diagnosis and treatment, and the role of other health care practitioners. However, they do not participate in activities that give them experience in the legal consequences of poor recordkeeping, misdiagnosis, and failure to refer.
Rationale: By immersing students in the management of a patient and subsequent malpractice trial, factors that contribute to increased risk for medical malpractice will be demonstrated. Following their participation, students will develop a heightened sensitivity to the need to keep accurate and complete medical records, properly diagnose and manage patients' conditions, and make timely referrals to other health care practitioners when appropriate.
Methodological Design: An explanatory single case study using an embedded case study design will be employed. An opinion survey will be administered to the subjects to determine the value of the program. A pretest and posttest will be administered to assess changes in knowledge about legal issues surrounding medical malpractice. A summative evaluation will be performed utilizing the theory-based CIPP Model for Evaluation.
Data Analysis: Yin's explanation building technique will be used to analyze the case. HyperRESEARCH™ v2.6, a qualitative analysis software program, will be used to assist in data analysis. Descriptive statistics will be utilized to analyze the results of the opinion survey. A dependent samples t-test will be used to analyze the pretest and posttest data. Educational process and product achievement will be measured, interpreted, and judged utilizing the CIPP Evaluation Model.
Significance: To the best of the researchers' knowledge, no other optometric school has immersed optometric students in a medical malpractice environment. Neither has any health care discipline rigorously evaluated this type of program. It is important to determine if the program is valuable to the student, if it has merit, and if the program requires modification to meet its objectives.