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Med Educ. 2007 Jun;41(6):537-49.

Unannounced standardised patients in real practice: a systematic literature review.

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Skillslab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.



No attempt has been made to give a systematic overview of the innovative use of unannounced or incognito standardised patients.


To provide a systematic overview of all published studies with incognito standardised patients assessing doctors in actual practice situations using sound reliable and valid standardised patient methodology.


Systematic literature search in Medline, Eric and Psyclit with piloted search terms, followed by retrieving additional papers from reference lists. All papers were scored with a predefined protocol-sheet using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria.


Forty papers referring to 21 projects with incognito standardised patients were found and described in detail. The majority of studies were conducted in primary care and were descriptive.


There is a need for research on the additional value of the incognito standardised patient methodology and for a consensus on how to report on accuracy and consistency of standardised patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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