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J Gen Intern Med. 2011 Nov;26(11):1374-7. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1809-3. Epub 2011 Jul 16.

Standardized patient-narrated web-based learning modules improve students' communication skills on a high-stakes clinical skills examination.

Author information

  • 1Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA. christinaaudreylee@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Use of web-based standardized patient (SP) modules is associated with improved medical student history-taking and physical examination skills on clinical performance examinations (CPX), but a benefit for communication skills has not been shown.

AIM:

We describe an innovative web-based SP module using detailed SP and faculty commentary to teach communication skills.

SETTING:

A public medical school in 2008-2009.

PARTICIPANTS:

Fourth-year medical students.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

A 90-minute web-based module with three simulated clinical encounters was narrated by an expert clinician and SP to explain expected history-taking, physical examination, and communication skills behaviors. All 147 students were encouraged to review the module one month before the CPX.

PROGRAM EVALUATION:

One hundred and six students (72%) viewed the web-based module. Students who watched the module performed significantly higher on the CPX communication score (+2.67%, p < 0.01) and overall score (+2.12%, p = 0.03), even after controlling for USMLE Step 1 and clerkship summary ratings. Use of the module did not significantly affect history/physical examination scores (+1.89%, p = 0.12).

DISCUSSION:

Students who watched an optional web-based SP module prior to the CPX performed higher than those who did not on communication skills. The web-based module appears to be an effective CPX preparatory activity to enhance communication performance.

PMID:
21769506
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3208474
Free PMC Article
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