Unannounced standardised patients in real practice: a systematic literature review

Med Educ. 2007 Jun;41(6):537-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02689.x.


Background: No attempt has been made to give a systematic overview of the innovative use of unannounced or incognito standardised patients.

Objective: To provide a systematic overview of all published studies with incognito standardised patients assessing doctors in actual practice situations using sound reliable and valid standardised patient methodology.

Methods: Systematic literature search in Medline, Eric and Psyclit with piloted search terms, followed by retrieving additional papers from reference lists. All papers were scored with a predefined protocol-sheet using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: Forty papers referring to 21 projects with incognito standardised patients were found and described in detail. The majority of studies were conducted in primary care and were descriptive.

Discussion: There is a need for research on the additional value of the incognito standardised patient methodology and for a consensus on how to report on accuracy and consistency of standardised patients.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Feedback
  • Informed Consent
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity