Background: Continuous development and use of new technologies and methodologies are key features in improving the learning, performance, and skills of medical students and students of all health care professions. Although significant improvements in teaching methodologies have been made in all areas of medicine and health care, studies reveal that students in many areas of health care taking an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) express difficulties. Thus, this study was planned as a feasibility study to assess the educational effectiveness of an integrated objective structured clinical examination (iOSCE) using both standardized patients and virtual patients. Methods. Thirty (30) medical students in their first year of internship at Taipei Medical University volunteered to be part of a feasibility study for demonstrating the concept of iOSCE. They divided themselves into five groups of six students each and were requested to evaluate two cases: 1) a patient with abdominal pain and 2) a patient with headache using a combination of a standardized patient and a virtual patient. For each of the two cases, five stations were designed in which students were given ten minutes per station leading to a final diagnosis and concluded with a debriefing. The five stations were:.• Station 1) Interacting with the standardized patient.• Station 2) Writing the patient note and developing a differential diagnosis.• Station 3) Selecting appropriate laboratory and imaging studies.• Station 4) Making a final diagnosis and stating the evidence for it.• Station 5) Having the debriefing.Each group of 6 students was assigned 2 hours per day for each case. All participants completed a survey regarding the usefulness and efficiency of the iOSCE. Results: All medical students (30/30; 100%) found the iOSCE program to be very satisfactory, and all expressed that they would like to have further iOSCE experiences if given the opportunity. In terms of ease and helpfulness, the students rated the program an average of 4.4 for the 1st case (abdominal pain) and 4.5 for the 2nd case (headache) on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest score. Conclusions: The participants felt that the iOSCE program can offer certain advantages over the traditional OSCE with the SP alone. They cited that the iOSCE provided improved clarity of what was being assessed as well as providing an opportunity to improve their diagnostic reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • iOSCE
  • Medical education
  • OSCE
  • Standardized patient
  • Virtual patient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Education


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