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Background: Direct assessment of health professional student performance of clinical skills can be accurately performed in the standardized performance assessment laboratory (SPAL), typically by health professional faculty. However, owing to time and economic considerations, nonmedical individuals have been specially trained to perform the same function (standardized patients [SPs]). This study compared the assessment scores of the history and physical examination components of a SPAL designed for second-year podiatric medical students at Des Moines University (DMU) by a podiatry medical faculty member and SPs.
Methods: A total of 101 students from the classes of 2015 and 2016 were evaluated in 2013 and 2014 by 11 to 13 SPs from the DMU SPAL program. The video recordings of these 101 students were then evaluated by one faculty member from the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at DMU.
Results: The Pearson correlation coefficient for each class showed a strong linear relationship between SP and faculty assessment scores. The associations between SP and faculty assessment scores in the history, physical examination, and combined history and physical examination components for the 2016 class (0.706, 0.925, and 0.911, respectively) were found to be stronger than those for the 2015 class (0.697, 0.791, and 0.791, respectively).
Conclusions: This study indicated that there are strong associations between the assessment scores of trained SPs and faculty for the history, physical examination, and combined history and physical examination components of second-year SPAL activity for podiatric medical students.
Corresponding author: James M. Mahoney, DPM, Department of Podiatric Medicine, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University, 3200 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)