Quality Control for SP Performance Regarding Patient Portrayal in a High-Stakes OSCE

Brem, Beate; Richter, Cornelia Sabine; Schnabel, Kai (23 June 2014). Quality Control for SP Performance Regarding Patient Portrayal in a High-Stakes OSCE (Unpublished). In: Annual ASPE Conference. Indianapolis. 22.06.-25.06.2014.

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Since the quality of patient portrayal of standardized patients (SPs) during an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) has a major impact on the reliability and validity of the exam, quality control should be initiated. Literature about quality control of SP’s performance focuses on feedback [1, 2] or completion of checklists [3, 4]. Since we did not find a published instrument meeting our needs for the assessment of patient portrayal, we developed such an instrument after being inspired by others [5] and used it in our high-stakes exam.


SP trainers from all five Swiss medical faculties collected and prioritized quality criteria for patient portrayal. Items were revised with the partners twice, based on experiences during OSCEs. The final instrument contains 14 criteria for acting (i.e. adequate verbal and non-verbal expression) and standardization (i.e. verbatim delivery of the first sentence). All partners used the instrument during a high-stakes OSCE. Both, SPs and trainers were introduced to the instrument. The tool was used in training (more than 100 observations) and during the exam (more than 250 observations).


The list of items to assess the quality of the simulation by SPs was primarily developed and used to provide formative feedback to the SPs in order to help them to improve their performance. It was therefore named “Feedbackstruckture for the Assessment of Interactive Role play in Objective Structured Clinical Exams (FAIR_OSCE). It was also used to assess the quality of patient portrayal during the exam. The results were calculated for each of the five faculties individually. Formative evaluation was given to the five faculties with individual feedback without revealing results of other faculties other than overall results.


High quality of patient portrayal during the exam was documented. More than 90% of SP performances were rated to be completely correct or sufficient. An increase in quality of performance between training and exam was noted. In example the rate of completely correct reaction in medical tests increased from 88% to 95%. 95% completely correct reactions together with 4% sufficient reactions add up to 99% of the reactions meeting the requirements of the exam. SP educators using the instrument reported an augmentation of SPs performance induced by the use of the instrument. Disadvantages mentioned were high concentration needed to explicitly observe all criteria and cumbersome handling of the paper-based forms.


We were able to document a very high quality of SP performance in our exam. The data also indicate that our training is effective. We believe that the high concentration needed using the instrument is well invested, considering the observed augmentation of performance. The development of an iPad based application for the form is planned to address the cumbersome handling of the paper.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education > Education and Media Unit (AUM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education

UniBE Contributor:

Brem, Beate; Richter, Cornelia Sabine and Schnabel, Kai


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Beate Brem

Date Deposited:

19 Mar 2015 10:31

Last Modified:

26 Mar 2015 11:34





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