Proficiency in identifying, managing and communicating medical errors: Feasibility and validity study assessing two core competencies

Abd Moain Abu Dabrh, Mohammad H Murad, Richard D. Newcomb, William G. Buchta, Mark W. Steffen, Zhen Wang, Amanda K. Lovett, Lawrence W. Steinkraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Communication skills and professionalism are two competencies in graduate medical education that are challenging to evaluate. We aimed to develop, test and validate a de novo instrument to evaluate these two competencies. Methods: Using an Objective Standardized Clinical Examination (OSCE) based on a medication error scenario, we developed an assessment instrument that focuses on distinctive domains [context of discussion, communication and detection of error, management of error, empathy, use of electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic medical information resources (EMIR), and global rating]. The aim was to test feasibility, acceptability, and reliability of the method. Results: Faculty and standardized patients (SPs) evaluated 56 trainees using the instrument. The inter-rater reliability of agreement between faculty was substantial (Fleiss k = 0.71) and intraclass correlation efficient was excellent (ICC = 0.80). The measured agreement between faculty and SPs evaluation of resident was lower (Fleiss k = 0.36). The instrument showed good conformity (ICC = 0.74). The majority of the trainees (75 %) had satisfactory or higher performance in all six assessed domains and 86 % found the OSCE to be realistic. Sixty percent reported not receiving feedback on EMR use and asked for subsequent training. Conclusion: An OSCE-based instrument using a medical error scenario can be used to assess competency in professionalism, communication, using EMRs and managing medical errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number233
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016



  • Communication skills
  • Core competencies
  • Medical errors
  • Medical training
  • Professionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Education

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