WebEncounter: An Online Application Enabling Remote Encounters between Learners and Standardized Patients for the Practice, Assessment, and Remediation of Clinical Skills

Gregory James McGee M.D., Drexel University College of Medicine
Christof J Daetwyler, M.D., Drexel University College of Medicine
Dennis Novack, M.D., Drexel University College of Medicine

Using WebEncounter, learners engage in a remote OSCE with a real Standardized Patient (SP) using a webcam-equipped computer. During a WebEncounter, the learner is given the case presentation – for example they meet with Ms. Dundee who’s been experiencing chest pain for two weeks – then perform a focused interview with the SP, do any necessary physical examinations, provide information and counseling, and fill out a patient note with their findings. A virtual physical exam component has been created so that learners may perform a variety of procedures on a virtual mannequin controlled by the SP, including auscultation using a stethoscope, palpation, etc. The SPs are trained to assess the learner’s performance using a standardized checklist. When the encounter is finished, the SP gives them individualized, constructive, high-quality feedback based on the checklist items, and the learner is sent links to online resources customized to help them improve deficient skills. WebEncounter has been developed for medical students, international graduates, and out-of-training physicians who seek re-entry into the work force to assess and enhance their clinical skill competencies. Since it functions remotely, it meets the needs of those who are homebound, live in remote areas, or have a busy schedule that does not easily permit travel. WebEncounter is an enhancement to 'WebOSCE,' presented at MedBiquitous in 2009, and published in Medical Teacher 2010; 32: e381-e390.