Standardized Patients in Audiology: A Proposal for a New Method of Evaluating Clinical Competence

Dinsmore, Brooke Freeman; Bohnert, Carrie; Preminger, Jill E.
May 2013
Journal of the American Academy of Audiology;May2013, Vol. 24 Issue 5, p372
Academic Journal
Background: While accrediting organizations require AuD programs to provide evidence that their students are able to demonstrate knowledge and competencies in specific content areas, there are no generally accepted mechanisms for the assessment and the measurement of these proficiencies. We propose that AuD programs consider developing standardized patient (SP) cases in order to develop consistent summative assessment programs within and across universities. Purpose: The purpose of this article is to provide a framework for establishing SP programs to evaluate competencies in AuD students by detailing the history of SP cases and their use, developing a rationale for this method of assessment, and outlining the steps for writing and implementing SP cases. Research Design: Literature review. Results: SPs have been used to assess clinical competence in medical students for over 50 yr. The prevalence of SP assessment in allied health professions (e.g., dentistry, psychology, pharmacy) has increased over the last two decades but has only gained a limited following in audiology. SP assessment has been implemented in medical education using the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, a multistation, timed exam that uses fictional cases to assess students' clinical abilities. To date, only one published report has been completed that evaluates the use of SPs to assess clinical abilities in audiology students. This article expands upon the work of English et al (2007) and their efforts to use SPs to evaluate counseling abilities. To this end, we describe the steps necessary to write a case, procedures to determine performance requirements, and the need to develop remediation plans. As an example, we include a case that we have developed in order to evaluate vestibular assessment and patient communication skills. Conclusions: Utilizing SP assessment in audiology education would provide useful means to evaluate competence in a uniform way. Future research is necessary to develop reliable and valid cases that may be implemented across programs. This article aims to serve as a call to audiology programs to begin developing and reporting these cases. Once these are established we can begin to use SP cases for summative assessment.


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