Instruction and Assessment of Doctor-Patient Communication Skills: A Novel Web-Based Approach

April 9, 2013 9:45 – 11:15am

Erik Langenau, DO, Elizabeth Kachur, PhD, Dorothy Horber, PhD, Luciana Goldstein,MLIS, MSEd
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.

Recent educational efforts in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education have included doctor-patient communication. Such teaching and assessment initiatives usually rely on the use of live patients, Standardized Patients (SPs) and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). These do provide exceptional opportunities to teach and evaluate doctor-patient communication skills, but they are costly and typically require face-to-face interaction. The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) has developed a formative assessment of doctor-patient communication skills using Remote Standardized Patients (RSPs) and a web-based communication interface (Skype). Each encounter includes a 15-minute doctor-patient communication task using Skype, a 5-minute self-assessment exercise, and a 10-minute debriefing and verbal feedback exercise. Upon completion of each encounter, the learner receives a written global assessment, key-action checklist evaluation, and case-specific teaching points. We will describe NBOMEs experience with the pilot project with 200+ encounters, presenting perspectives from both the RSP and physician participant. We will also describe how a number of technologies were used throughout the web-based exercises. Conference participants will leave with a new appreciation for e-learning and video conferencing technology, specifically as it applies to educational efforts related to doctor-patient communication skills.