Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

Medical Student Education in the Electronic Age: A Web-Based Virtual Teaching Tool.

Rodriguez1,  Ernesto J., Alias1,  Abie, Rehman1,  Aasim, Osting1,  Vanessa, Battle2,  Tanisha, Westphal2,  Lara, Sterrett3,  Ashley G.

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
University of South Florida


Musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints have a high prevalence in primary care practice, yet many physicians continue to identify themselves as deficient in MSK medicine. Recognizing joint pattern involvement in rheumatic diseases is integral to establishing a differential diagnosis. Therefore there is an impetus to improve the quality and consistency of MSK teaching in medical schools. This qualitative study was conducted to assess the effectiveness and satisfaction of 4th year medical students with "Arthur" (shown below).


"Arthur" is a web-based virtual education program that teaches joint pattern recognition of MSK disorders. Thirty cases highlight different joint pattern presentations (ie. Symmetric polyarthritis illustrated in above case). "Arthur" was developed by the University of South Florida Rheumatology and Education Departments. All fourth year medical students had access to "Arthur" and the accompanying survey. This survey contained open-ended questions designed to gather feedback on the students' experience, as well as the program's utility and possible areas of improvement.


A total of 64 out of 107 (59.8%) fourth year medical students completed "Arthur" and the follow up survey. In response to the question regarding the strengths of "Arthur": 35 % of the respondents identified the program to be a useful tool for learning joint pattern recognition, 42.4% stated it was helpful in learning differential diagnoses of rheumatic diseases, and 20.3 % reported "Arthur" to be useful as a visual aid. In response to the question regarding areas for improvement: 48.4% identified the need for addition of explanations for each differential diagnosis, 10.9% reported the need for additional history, and 9.3% felt that "Arthur" did not need any improvement.


The "Arthur" virtual interactive teaching program was found to be most helpful in determining differential diagnoses, joint pattern recognition, and as a visual aid for learning. Based on this data, the most recent version of "Arthur" includes detailed explanations of the differential diagnoses for each case.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Rodriguez, Ernesto J., Alias, Abie, Rehman, Aasim, Osting, Vanessa, Battle, Tanisha, Westphal, Lara, et al; Medical Student Education in the Electronic Age: A Web-Based Virtual Teaching Tool. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :44
DOI: 10.1002/art.27813

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