Using a computer simulation for teaching communication skills: A blinded multisite mixed methods randomized controlled trial

Kron, F. W. et al. (2017) Using a computer simulation for teaching communication skills: A blinded multisite mixed methods randomized controlled trial. Patient Education and Counseling, 100(4), pp. 748-759. (doi:10.1016/j.pec.2016.10.024) (PMID:27939846) (PMCID:PMC5385273)

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Abstract

Objectives: To assess advanced communication skills among second-year medical students exposed either to a computer simulation (MPathic-VR) featuring virtual humans, or to a multimedia computer-based learning module, and to understand each group’s experiences and learning preferences. Methods: A single-blinded, mixed methods, randomized, multisite trial compared MPathic-VR (N = 210) to computer-based learning (N = 211). Primary outcomes: communication scores during repeat interactions with MPathic-VR’s intercultural and interprofessional communication scenarios and scores on a subsequent advanced communication skills objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Multivariate analysis of variance was used to compare outcomes. Secondary outcomes: student attitude surveys and qualitative assessments of their experiences with MPathic-VR or computer-based learning. Results: MPathic-VR-trained students improved their intercultural and interprofessional communication performance between their first and second interactions with each scenario. They also achieved significantly higher composite scores on the OSCE than computer-based learning-trained students. Attitudes and experiences were more positive among students trained with MPathic-VR, who valued its providing immediate feedback, teaching nonverbal communication skills, and preparing them for emotion-charged patient encounters. Conclusions: MPathic-VR was effective in training advanced communication skills and in enabling knowledge transfer into a more realistic clinical situation. Practice implications: MPathic-VR’s virtual human simulation offers an effective and engaging means of advanced communication training.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Marsella, Professor Stacy
Authors: Kron, F. W., Fetters, M. D., Scerbo, M. W., White, C. B., Lypson, M. L., Padilla, M. A., Gliva-McConvey, G. A., Belfore, L. A., West, T., Wallace, A. M., Guetterman, T. C., Schleicher, L. S., Kennedy, R. A., Mangrulkar, R. S., Cleary, J. F., Marsella, S. C., and Becker, D. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Patient Education and Counseling
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0738-3991
ISSN (Online):0738-3991
Published Online:29 October 2016

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