Standardized Patient Practices: Initial Report on the Survey of US and Canadian Medical Schools

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Howley, Lisa D. ; Gliva-McConvey, Gayle ; Thornton, Judy (2009)

Background: There is currently a lack of information about the ways in which standardized patients (SPs) are used, how programs that facilitate their use are operated, the ways in which SP-based performance assessments are developed, and how assessment quality is assured. This survey research project was undertaken to describe the current practices of programs delivering SP-based instruction and/or assessment. Method: A structured interview of 61 individual SP programs affiliated with the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) was conducted over a 7-month period. A web-based data entry system was used by the 11 trained interviewers. Results: The two most common reported uses of SPs were learner performance assessment (88% of respondents) and small-group instruction (84% of respondents). Fifty-four percent of programs hired 51_100 SPs annually and paid an average of $15 and $16 per hour for training time and portraying a case, respectively. The average reported number of permanent program employees, excluding SPs and temporary staff, was 4.8 (sd_3.6). The most frequently reported salary range was $30,001_$45,000. Conclusion: We intend for these preliminary results to inform the medical education community about the functions of SPs and the structures of programs that implement these complex educational endeavors. Keywords: Standardized patient, training program, educational activities, methodology, survey
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