OBJECTIVE: Using Skype and remote standardized patients (RSPs), investigators sought to evaluate user acceptance of a web-based objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) among resident physicians.
METHODS: After participating in four web-based clinical encounters addressing pain with RSPs, 59 residents from different training programs, disciplines and geographic locations completed a 52-item questionnaire regarding their experience with Skype and RSPs. Open-ended responses were solicited as well.
RESULTS: The majority of participants (97%) agreed or strongly agreed the web-based format was convenient and a practical learning exercise, and 90% agreed or strongly agreed the format was effective in teaching communication skills. Although 93% agreed or strongly agreed they could communicate easily with RSPs using Skype, 80% preferred traditional face-to-face clinical encounters, and 58% reported technical difficulties during the encounters. Open-ended written responses supported survey results.
CONCLUSION: Findings from this study expose challenges with technology and human factors, but positive experiences support the continued investigation of web-based OSCEs as a synchronous e-learning initiative for teaching and assessing doctor-patient communication. Such educational programs are valuable but unlikely to replace face-to-face encounters with patients.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: This web-based OSCE program provides physician learners with additional opportunity to improve doctor-patient communication.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/erik_langenau/2/