What to Expect on your OPEX Experience

Please call your physician’s office a day or so before you are scheduled to go to them.  Introduce yourself to them on the phone and remind them that you have been assigned to them and the day / time you should be there.  Make sure there are no last minute changes from the preceptor.

First and Second Visits – To be discussed/presented in your small groups

Orientation to the Community

  • Analyze your clinical site with respect to safety, lighting, traffic, schools, commerce, health, public transportation, and other resources.
  • Are there sidewalks?  Are people walking?  Are they biking?  Is it safe to cross the street?
  • What resources do you see for the people living in the area?  Are there stores?  What kind?  Are there restaurants?  Do you see schools?
  • How would you describe the assets and liabilities of the neighborhood or community?
  • Find out the demographics of the community and neighborhood.  How do they compare with the patients who utilize your preceptor’s practice?  Are they the same? 

Orientation to the Office

  • You should be introduced to the office staff upon your arrival.
  • Learn how the office operates – where should you park; which door you should use; what are the hours of operation on the days you come?
  • Dress Code – check with your preceptor regarding any additional or special stipulations in addition to the Emory Medical Student dress code?
  • Review Confidentiality and HIPPA information with your preceptor-physician; carry your card (proof of training) to your preceptor
  • Learn how the office functions, e.g., where the charts are kept, how medical records are maintained.  What is each staff members’ role in record keeping?   How are the charts maintained?  You can discuss your role in record keeping in the coming weeks.

Orientation to the Student- Physician Relationship

  • Learn something about your preceptor – hobbies, family, education, and hometown
  • Share information about yourself with your preceptor – hobbies, family, education, and hometown
  • Ask the physician if he/she has ideas about how you might contribute to the office functioning.  You should also observe and come up with your own ideas.

How does your office/clinical site function?

  • Watch and observe how things are done at your office site.
  • Listen to learn how phone calls are handled, how telephone and office advice are given and how appointments are made.
  • What happens at check-in and check-out?  Describe patient flow.
  • How do patients pay? Which insurances are accepted at your office?  What is the average co-pay?  Do they pay cash or use charge cards or debit cards? 

Future/Later OPEX Visits

You should begin to take histories from the patients and to practice examining the patients as your skills and confidence allow, and at the wisdom, discretion and readiness of the preceptor.  Depending on your preceptor, you may even start on the first visit!

Much of the success of the Outpatient Experience comes from how the student applies classroom instruction in the Foundations phase to his/her examination of the patients.  When you are learning about the healthy human, please use that opportunity to emphasize and perform patient education on appropriate topics such as diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, and healthy lifestyle issues with your patient.  Similarly, during each of your blocks, pay particular attention to the subject matter of that block, in addition to the history and physical exam with your patients.  Remember that your learning is cumulative; similar to building blocks.  When you have completed a particular block, you must continue to emphasize and include that information in your patient’s visit and examination.  You will get out of the Outpatient Experience what you invest in it. Significant learning for OPEX occurs when your experiences are processed in the small groups.  You should be sharing information about your patients (HIPPA appropriate info, of course), your clinics and your preceptors with your small groups each week.  The small group leaders will be including this information