Online Psychiatry Objective Structured Clinical Examination - Experience of Irish medical students

Doherty, Kieran and Guerandel, Allys Online Psychiatry Objective Structured Clinical Examination - Experience of Irish medical students.


Background: Psychiatry students at University College Dublin (UCD) routinely undertake an objective
structured clinical examination (OSCE) on completion of their rotation. Covid-19 has necessitated the
transition to an online assessment platform which uses video integration software developed by Qpercom,
an Irish company providing bespoke assessment solutions to universities. This program integrates student,
standardised patient, and examiner consoles to an existing electronic assessment software program on a
single platform which allows remote examination to be undertaken. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of an online clinical examination platform to medical students.

Summary of Work: Following participation in an online OSCE, 230 Final Year medical students were invited to complete a 19-item questionnaire. Participation was voluntary. Completion of the questionnaire was regarded as consent to participate. Ethical approval was obtained from UCD Human Research Ethics

Summary of Results: A total of 223 (97%) valid responses were received. 18% (n=39) of respondents had
previously undertaken an online OSCE; 98% (n=218) had undertaken a face-to-face OSCE. Three quarters of respondents reported that the online exam structure was clear (79%; n=176) and the software was easy to use (77%; n=169). Online engagement was comparable to face to face contact for approximately a third (30%; n=64), with three fifths agreeing that they could effectively communicate and demonstrate empathy via the online medium (60%; n=126). While 50% (n=107) reported that online OSCE was more stressful than traditional face-to-face OSCE, 59% (n= 124) reported it an acceptable means to conduct clinical examinations.

Discussion and Conclusions: While only a minority of students felt that the online OSCE format was
comparable to in person OSCE, there was a high degree of acceptability among students for this format.
The user friendliness of the exam software may have contributed to this.

Take-home Messages: Online OSCE assessment is a relatively new assessment medium for medical
students, with little research on attitudes to and acceptability of the medium to this cohort in either an
Irish or an international setting. The results of this study to date are encouraging and could potentially
support the use of the online OSCE as an integral component of medical examinations.

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