Using an objective structured video exam to identify differential understanding of aspects of communication skills

Med Teach. 2012;34(4):e242-50. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.660213.


Background: Effective communication in health care is associated with patient satisfaction and improved clinical outcomes. Professional schools increasingly incorporate communication training into their curricula. The objective structured video exam (OSVE) is a video-based examination that provides an economical way of assessing students' knowledge of communication skills. This study presents a scoring strategy that enables blueprinting of an OSVE to consensus guidelines, to determine which aspects of communication skills create the most difficulty for students to understand and to what degree understanding improves through experiential communication skills training.

Methods: Five interactions between a healthcare professional and client were scripted and filmed using standardized patients. The dialogues were mapped onto the Kalamazoo consensus statement by having five communication experts view each video and identify effective and ineffective use of communication skills. Undergraduate students enrolled in a communications course completed an OSVE on three occasions.

Results: A total of 79 students completed at least one testing session. The scores assigned supported the validity of the scoring strategy as an indication of knowledge growth. Considerable variability was observed across Kalamazoo sub-domains.

Conclusion: With further refining, this scoring approach may prove useful for educators to tailor their education and assessment practices to specific consensus guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Communication*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / standards
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Videotape Recording