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Acad Med. 2013 Nov;88(11):1670-5. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a7f75a.

Enhancement of the assessment of physician-patient communication skills in the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Author information

  • 1Dr. Hoppe is professor emeritus, Department of Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, and senior consultant, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. King is senior assessment scientist, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Mazor is professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, assistant director, Meyers Primary Care Institute, and consultant, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Furman is director of educational design and development, Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Wick-Garcia is training specialist, Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Corcoran-Ponisciak is research measurement analyst, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Katsufrakis is senior vice president of assessment programs, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Abstract

The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) reviewed all components of the United States Medical Licensing Examination as part of a strategic planning activity. One recommendation generated from the review called for enhancements of the communication skills component of the Step 2 Clinical Skills (Step 2 CS) examination. To address this recommendation, the NBME created a multidisciplinary team that comprised experts in communication content, communication measurement, and implementation of standardized patient (SP)-based examinations. From 2007 through 2012, the team reviewed literature in physician-patient communication, examined performance characteristics of the Step 2 CS exam, observed case development and quality assurance processes, interviewed SPs and their trainers, and reviewed video recordings of examinee-SP interactions. The authors describe perspectives gained by their team from the review process and outline the resulting enhancements to the Step 2 CS exam, some of which were rolled out in June 2012.

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