Relationship between web-based illness scripts and the performance of medical students in orthopedic surgery placements

Int J Med Educ. 2021 Sep 30;12:181-185. doi: 10.5116/ijme.6135.d424.


Objectives: We aimed to explore the relationship between web-based orthopedic illness scripts and medical students' performance as assessed through examination results.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study with 83 fifth-year medical students in an academic hospital. During a one-month placement, they were instructed to do web-based illness scripts. Their performances were assessed by examination in the last week. All recorded data about illness scripts and examination results were retrieved. The students were separated into high and low response groups based on completed illness scripts. The characteristics of the students between the two groups were compared. Pearson correlation coefficients and regression analysis were used to identify the relationship between illness scripts and examination results.

Results: There were 56 students in the high-response and 27 in the low-response groups. The characteristics and examination scores were not significantly different between the groups, while there was a significant difference in script completion (t(27)=13.72, p<0.001). Using Pearson correlation, we found weak correlations without significance between completed scripts, illness script scores, and examination scores. We found no relationship between illness script scores and examination scores, even in the high response group, by regression analysis.

Conclusions: The use of web-based orthopedic illness scripts did not correlate to the examination performance of medical students. A high number of scripts without variety and limited time for practicing may have obscured potential positive relationships. Illness scripts should be adjusted as appropriate for each school before being assigned. A further multi-center, prospective study is suggested to identify the correlations and investigate the influencing factors.

Keywords: examination; illness script; orthopedic; performance; web-based.