Objective: To determine the effect of computer-based medical teaching (CBMT) as a supplementary method to teach clinical problem-solving during the clerkship in neurology.
Design: Randomized controlled blinded study.
Setting: Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Method: 103 Students were assigned at random to a group with access to CBMT and a control group. CBMT consisted of 20 computer-simulated patients with neurological diseases, and was permanently available during five weeks to students in the CBMT group. The ability to recognize and solve neurological problems was assessed with two free-response tests, scored by two blinded observers.
Results: The CBMT students scored significantly better on the test related to the CBMT cases (mean score 7.5 on a zero to 10 point scale; control group 6.2; p < 0.001). There was no significant difference on the control test not related to the problems practised with CBMT.
Conclusion: CBMT can be an effective method for teaching clinical problem-solving, when used as a supplementary teaching facility during a clinical clerkship. The increased ability to solve problems learned by CBMT had no demonstrable effect on the performance with other neurological problems.