The second annual Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE) Colloquium for GUMC Educators in the Health Professions took place on Tuesday, June 2, and featured several sessions highlighting the work of the Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ITEL). Our own CNDLS staff, Susan Pennestri and Graduate Associate Eleri Syverson presented on a year-long ITEL project led by Dr. Stacy Kaltman.
The presentation, “Using Interactive Simulations to Enhance Teaching in Physician-Patient Communication,” featured the project team’s efforts to improve existing training methods by developing three online clinical interview simulations to give students practice with patient-centered interviewing skills. All sims focused on obtaining the history of present illness (HPI), but each focused on a particular skill set within the HPI interview, including opening an interview, obtaining chief concern for an especially sensitive illness, and responding to emotion. The branching software used to develop the simulations was Articulate Storyline and each simulation was distributed via Blackboard. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in which 60 students had unlimited access to the sims for 3 weeks prior to the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and compared their results to 33 students who did not have access to the sims. Generally, student perceptions to the sims were positive as were the findings. In both cases of OSCEs, there was a significant increase in the use of open-ended questions and empathetic statements by students who had used the simulations. There was also a mean increase in refections and decrease in close-ended questions, although the difference were not enough to be considered significant.
The positive feedback from students, the survey results, and the significant increases in some desirable communication behaviors provide encouraging support for the use of simulations to enhance medical student’s communication skills and warrant the need for further investigation. In fact, in the second phase of the Kaltman ITEL project, CNDLS has already completed the second generation of sims, which focus on Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques using another simulation software called Interlude, so stayed tuned for more!