Moult, A, McKinley, RK and Yeates, P (2021) Understanding patient involvement in judging students' communication skills in OSCEs. Medical Teacher, 43 (9). 1070 - 1078. ISSN 0142-159X

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INTRODUCTION: Communication skills are assessed by medically-enculturated examiners using consensus frameworks which were developed with limited patient involvement. Assessments consequently risk rewarding performance which incompletely serves patients' authentic communication needs. Whilst regulators require patient involvement in assessment, little is known about how this can be achieved. We aimed to explore patients' perceptions of students' communication skills, examiner feedback and potential roles for patients in assessment.

METHODS: Using constructivist grounded theory we performed cognitive stimulated, semi-structured interviews with patients who watched videos of student performances in communication-focused OSCE stations and read corresponding examiner feedback. Data were analysed using grounded theory methods.

RESULTS: A disconnect occurred between participants' and examiners' views of students' communication skills. Whilst patients frequently commented on students' use of medical terminology, examiners omitted to mention this in feedback. Patients' judgements of students' performances varied widely, reflecting different preferences and beliefs. Participants viewed variability as an opportunity for students to learn from diverse lived experiences. Participants perceived a variety of roles to enhance assessment authenticity.

DISCUSSION: Integrating patients into communications skills assessments could help to highlight deficiencies in students' communication which medically-enculturated examiners may miss. Overcoming the challenges inherent to this is likely to enhance graduates' preparedness for practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Assessment, patient involvement, communication skills
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2021 15:54
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 15:04

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