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Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2012 Sep;38(9):414-8.

Using an Objective Structured Clinical Examination to test adherence to Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal--associated behaviors.

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Department of Surgery, Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA.



A study was conducted at a tertiary care academic medical center to assess a simulation-based, single-station Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) designed to evaluate intern trainees' familiarity with and adherence to behaviors associated with Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals and The Joint Commission Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, Wrong Person Surgery.


Subjects were interns, from all disciplines, completing basic skills training during intern orientation. The OSCE scenario was designed to assess 13 behaviors associated with four National Patient Safety Goals (1, 2, 3, and 7) from 2009 and 2010 and the Universal Protocol. Sessions were digitally recorded and independently reviewed by two observers, who scored behaviors using a standardized score sheet. Behaviors were assigned point values and tabulated for all trainees. Kappa coefficient was calculated to assess interrater reliability.


One-hundred eleven (74.5%) of 149 interns completed the station. The average time to completion was 6.9 minutes (standard deviation [SD] 1.8; range, 3.5-12.6). Interns scored an average of 9.5 points (SD, 4.7; range, 2-20; mode, 8) of 26. The interrater reliability for the two reviewers was 0.9. Interns most frequently requested chlorhexidine to sterilize the patient's skin (98.2% of interns demonstrated); identifying an unlabeled medication vial as inappropriate for use was the most frequently missed item (8.1% of interns demonstrated).


Behaviors related to tenets of patient safety and quality care can be assessed using a simple to design and execute OSCE. Using simulation to test behaviors associated with the National Patient Safety Goals may be a desirable adjunct to traditional simple knowledge-based tests.

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