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Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 1995 Feb;20(1):63-7.

Is otoscopy reliable? A structured teaching method to improve otoscopic accuracy in trainees.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.


Otoscopy is an important skill for primary care physicians and otologists. Until now, training has been by repeated exposure to patients with ear disease. Structured instruction in how to assess an ear has not previously been reported. Not-diseased ears and those with varying types of chronic (suppurative) otitis media were chosen to be photographed as this is an important condition to be able to diagnose and in which pneumatic otoscopy has no role. Two sets of 30 slides of equal difficulty were shown to 10 trainees, one before and one after structured teaching. The overall error rate fell from 44 to 21% (P < 0.001). Most importantly, the error rate in assessing ear activity fell from 35 to 17% (P < 0.05). In conclusion, a structured approach to otoscopy has been shown to improve the diagnostic ability of trainess tested with photographs of ears with chronic otitis media. Such a teaching approach is likely to be equally beneficial to other otological conditions and to live otoscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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