How Mock-OSCE Is One Step Ahead At Assessing Communication Skills

Written by Gabia NeverauskaitÄ—, Psychologist & Remote Assessment Coordinator,

In recent years, communication has quickly become an important phenomenon in the realm of medical education. Although the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) incorporate communication skills when assessing clinical competence1, issues still remain regarding the effectiveness of these skills. Perhaps it is important to consider how communication skills are taught in order to understand how they can be improved. 

One of the best known ways of learning communication skills is by using clinical communication models to teach the importance of structuring consultations. Evidence confirms that consultation skills training using clinical communication models, such as the Calgary-Cambridge Guide, positively affects doctor-patient communication2. Developing good communication with patients not only helps them openly express their thoughts, feelings and concerns, but also minimises the withholding of vital medical history information3. Using the Calgary-Cambridge Guide as a way of teaching communication skills, significantly improves interviewing skills among midwifery students3. The model has also improved communication skills among medical students4, medical residents5, and doctors6

However, there are some factors that affect communication including; time pressure, clinical workload, patient complexity, and physical or emotional fatigue7. One study attempted to tackle these challenges by creating an innovative, clinical communication coaching program for medical residents7. Psychologists were appointed as coaches due to their ability to think systematically, conceptualise behaviour, and understand factors involved in behavioural change8. These skills allow them to create feedback that is personalised, developmental, and constructive7. Throughout this program, the psychologists observed live patient encounters, and assessed communication using the Calgary-Cambridge Patient-Centred Observational checklist7. The study was deemed a success as 97% of residents rated their experience on the program as Helpful or Very Helpful. This highlights the effectiveness of psychologists as communication skills coaches and how they could be involved more widely in similar programs to minimise the workload of physician examiners.

Our aim here, at, is to offer the best possible service for all of our candidates. Therefore, we have incorporated a psychologist as part of our team who ensures satisfactory quality control standards are met. As advised by research, the Calgary-Cambridge Guide is adopted to ensure the exam follows a structured medical interview. Our psychologist is also responsible for the supervision of feedback delivered, so that it is as safe and appropriate as possible. Rest assured that you will be in good hands with us!

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The Mock-OSCE platform is a performance booster for every stage of career and will boost confidence, increase focus, and shine a light on clinical areas that need improvement. An excellent tool for OSCE Preparation!!! And the staff very kind and friendly. The experience was well worth the money!! I feel like I have friends in Ireland.
Avis T., United States
I am a doctor with various years of postgraduate experience. I need to sit several OSCE type of exams to further develop my professional career. I had the fortune to find Even though it is focused more on medical students, I found the experience very enriching. Actors were outstanding, and gave great immediate feedback. The feedback breakdown that is sent after the mock exam is awesome. I would not doubt to recommend to any colleague.
Alejandro F., New Zealand
It was good to be able to practise history taking in an exam style mock OSCE!
Joy A., England
It was good practice and the feedback provided was helpful.
Tatiana M., Scotland
As a family doctor from Saudi Arabia, currently pursuing a PhD, I appreciated taking the Mock-OSCE exam to train and assess my English communication skills. The test was well-organised, challenging, and efficient. Examiners gave me feedback which was structured, safe, to the point and well received.
Akram A., Saudi Arabia
Great experience and extremely helpful.
Carol C., Australia
The power of the consult for diagnosis is sometimes considered as strong as sophisticated imaging and/or assays - Mock-OSCE is a fantastic tool to sharpen skills, get more out of consults, and ultimately build stronger relationships with patients.
K.S., United States
The feedback is especially helpful as it provides useful details of improvement.
S.R., Canada
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