Purpose: To determine if inter-institutional collaboration, using telehealth technology, inter-professional education techniques, and case study methodology is a feasible way to teach health professions students how to appropriately address opioid addictions, especially in rural populations with limited health care access.

Study subjects: Ten health professions students from four Virginia universities participated. Professions represented included medicine, nursing, physical therapy, social work, nutrition, and psychology at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Methods: Inter-professional faculty from four Virginia universities developed an opioid addiction simulation case study using a standardized patient. Students from different regions engaged in a facilitated patient interview and care planning via secure virtual meeting platform. Faculty observation and feedback, student feedback, and inter-professional education assessments were used to assess this pilot study.

Findings: Inter-institutional faculty collaboration and telehealth technology was successfully employed to convene multiple health professions students from different sites; simulation case study methodology using a standardized patient was effective and compelling; students effectively utilized interprofessional competencies and skills to develop a comprehensive and holistic care plan for opioid addiction treatment.

Conclusions: Telehealth technology, inter-professional education, and simulation case study methodology can be successfully used to teach health professions students how to collaborate to address the opioid crisis, especially in resource-limited rural areas.

Implications: Many resources are necessary to successfully treat opioid addictions. By using telehealth technology combined with inter-professional concepts and skills, resources can be shared between institutions and professions to successfully treat patients with opioid addictions in resource-limited areas.



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