Reliability and validity of OSCE checklists used to assess the communication skills of undergraduate medical students: A systematic review

A few words about this paper…

In 2011, Winny from Indonesia approached me to ask whether he could join us for a PhD track. It would be an opportunity to investigate the wide range of communications stations used within our School of Medicine. Data was collected using our OSCE Management Information System. A systematic review was commenced to find out where the flaws in practice were, and it was successful. If a clinical skills trainer addresses that he/she is responsible for a communication skills station I ask, which of the 18 domains of communications skills are you going to assess? Silence usually follows and low Cronbach’s alpha (internal consistency of the assessment form) at a later stage is very likely. Winny’s paper (to date, November 2018) is referenced 17 times by other researchers. read more

Back to the Future 1: Electronic Marking of Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and Admission Interviews Using an Online Management Information System in Schools of Health Sciences

A few words on this paper…

‘Back to the Future’ refers to the 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis, featuring Micheal J. Fox as teenager Marty McFly. Marty, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist, Doc Brown.

We looked back 44 years, to when Professor R.M. Harden invented the paper-based OSCE in 1974. The future would have to be about the actual results. Facing 30% errors in our paper assessment results, we had a problem to solve. With incomplete forms and failures in adding up the results, we decided to automate the OSCE procedure. Planning, form submission and data analysis is all done electronically and this paper provides insights in the automated features. read more

An Online Management Information System for Objective Structured Clinical Examinations

A few words about this paper…

During 2006 – 2008, David Cunningham, as an intern, and myself as a lecturer, were engaged with teaching & learning in the National University of Ireland, Galway, in the School of Medicine (Medical Informatics & Medical Education in those days). Our OSCE procedures involving the planning and execution of the examination was typically laborious, as it is for this exam. Planning was one thing, but what about results? We encountered issues with forms and results. On top of this, the study recorded one typical OSCE exam with 30% errors and a high cost of automation. With Cussimano’s €4.70 staff cost per student, per station and our estimate of €2.80 administration costs per submitted paper form, total cost of an OSCE could be estimated to be €7.50 per student, per station.  read more

Back to the future 2: An online OSCE Management Information System for nursing OSCEs

A few words about this paper…

It was not long after we implemented our OSCE Management Information System within the School of Medicine in the National University of Ireland, Galway, that our colleagues from the School of Nursing started to use the system. Moreover, as nurses embed solid practice in their research, the purpose of this practice-based investigation was to initiate a first user acceptance test. We were very pleased with their initiative as all (n=18) nurse examiners appeared to very satisfied with the electronic system and its embedded functionalities. With a University/National cut-score in nursing of (only) 40%, it was surprising to see when the difficulty of the stations using Borderline Regression Analysis was incorporated, the cutscore rose towards 60%. Nurses are very well trained in their skill sets. Although not further researched to date, approximately thirty hours of administration time was saved. In contrast to previous paper-based approaches prior to 2014, results and feedback could be released immediately after the exam was finished, according to Pauline, Eimear and Evelyn. read more

Global Rating Scores & Retrospective Standard Setting

What are Global Rating Scores? 

In clinical skills or observational assessment, apart from item score sheets, Global Rating Scores (GRS) are used. A GRS reflects the professional opinion of the examiner once they have completed the item score list. This list represents what they have observed or marked during the scenario. In most cases, a 5 or 6 item Likert scale is used ranging from 0 = Fail; 1 = Borderline; 2 = Pass; 3 = Good to 4 = Excellent. Sometimes, if examiners can’t choose between Borderline and Fail or Borderline and Pass an extra option is brought into this GRS. Now examiners have the option to choose between 0 = Fail; 1 = Borderline fail; 2 = Borderline pass; 3 = Pass and 4 and 5 are Good and Excellent, respectively. read more

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