Does hearing the patient perspective improve consultation skills in examinations? An exploratory randomized controlled trial in medical undergraduate education
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Purpose: Medical education increasingly includes patient perspectives, but few studies look at the impact on students’ proficiency in standard examinations. We explored students’ exam performance after viewing video of patients’ experiences. Methods: Eighty-eight medical students were randomized to one of two e-learning modules. The experimental group saw video clips of patients describing their colposcopy, while the control group viewed a clinician describing the procedure. Students then completed a Multiple Choice Questionnaire (MCQ) and were assessed by a blinded clinical examiner in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) with a blinded simulated patient (SP). The SP scored students using the Doctors’ Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire (DISQ). Students rated the module’s effect on their skills and confidence. Regression analyses were used to compare the effect of the two modules on these outcomes, adjusting for gender and graduate entry. Results: The experimental group performed better in the OSCE than the control group (odds ratio 2.7 [95%CI 1.2–6.1]; p = 0.016). They also reported significantly more confidence in key areas, including comfort with patients’ emotions (odds ratio 6.4 [95%CI 2.7–14.9]; p < 0.0005). There were no other significant differences. Conclusion: Teaching that included recorded elements of real patient experience significantly improved students’ examination performance and confidence.