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Ann Intern Med. 1986 Nov;105(5):762-71.

Assessing clinical skills of residents with standardized patients.


Current techniques do not provide a reproducible, reliable, or valid basis for assessing clinical skills. The need for large-scale direct observation and standardized assessment procedures has precluded development of better techniques. A project using standardized patients presenting with common clinical problems evaluated the skills of 336 internal medicine residents at 14 New England residency programs in 1289 standardized patient and resident encounters. Results indicated that reproducible assessment of the clinical skills could be achieved in approximately 1 day of testing time using standardized patients. Resident performance improved with years of training, and senior residents and those from programs with stronger reputations performed better and were more homogeneous in ability. Low correlations between standardized-patient-based measures of clinical skills and other evaluation techniques suggested that standardized patients provided unique information. Reactions of residents and faculty to standardized-patient-based evaluations were favorable.

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