Background: Post-donation information events in the blood-collection process account for the majority of errors reported to the FDA. An eight-station objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) based on information reported after donation was developed as a competency examination for health historians.
Study design and methods: The OSCE measured two individual skill components: history-taking technique (HXE) and ability to record and interpret a medical history (HXI). Donor historians at the Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, were examined (n = 56).
Results: In general, staff performance was acceptable, but several areas for improvement were identified. Of particular concern were the deferrals associated with the malaria scenarios. The overall reliability score was greater than 0.8 for the total OSCE and HXI. Using the cut score of 0.9, or 90 percent, 10 subjects would not have passed the exam based on the HXE score and one person would not have demonstrated competency based on the HXI score.
Conclusion: An OSCE is a reliable, valid, and practical method for assessing continued competency in health historians. This form of competency assessment and subsequent retraining may reduce the incidence of errors in information reported after donation and should be further studied as a suitable national standard for assessing competency.