Virtual Patients for assessment of medical student ability to integrate clinical and laboratory data to develop differential diagnoses: Comparison of results of exams with/without time constraints
2012 (English)In: Medical teacher, ISSN 0142-159X, E-ISSN 1466-187X, Vol. 34, no 4, E222-E228 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Introduction: We have evaluated medical student ability in a problem-based learning course using a Virtual Patient (VP)-based exam with variable parameters for assessment purposes. Methods: A class of 155 second year medical students was assessed using a VP exam with unlimited access during a 1-week period; 2 years later, the identical exam was administered to 175 students with a 3-h time limit. Results: Students taking the exam without time constraints utilized approximately twice as much time than students with the time limit. Without the pressure of a time-limit, students utilized half as many inquiries of the patient history, physical, and lab/imaging tests than were used by students having a time constraint, indicating that the time limited students used a "shotgun approach'' to try to collect as many "required'' inquiries as possible. Most students (91%) taking the untimed exam were able to correctly diagnose the exam case but only 31% of the time limited students correctly diagnosed the VP exam case, despite their higher number of inquiries. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that an identical VP exam, administered with variables to compare untimed versus time-limited conditions, resulted in an unraveling of student's ability to integrate the data discovered during the process of progressive disclosure.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 34, no 4, E222-E228 p.
Medical and Health Sciences Educational Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-78437DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.642830ISI: 000302027600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-78437DiVA: diva2:539773