Eric S. Holmboe, MD; Richard E. Hawkins, MD
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Holmboe ES, Hawkins RE. Computers and Evaluation of Clinical Competence. Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:244-245. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-130-3-199902020-00037
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;130(3):244-245.
We thank Issenberg and colleagues for highlighting the potential of computer simulation to assess clinical competence. We focused on the most common methods used in residency training programs currently, but we agree that computer simulations may become a widespread method to assess the clinical competence of residents. A recent survey of medical schools found that 73 of 124 schools are already using some form of computer simulation for evaluation (1).
Advantages of computer-based methods include uniformity in assessment; opportunity to assess skills without possible harm to live patients; exposure to specific and important medical content; and ability to provide immediate feedback to the learner, assess decision making over time, and design cases suitable to the different levels of trainees (1, 2). Advances in microcomputer technology have also greatly reduced the cost of computer simulation by eliminating the need for the mainframe computers that were necessary for initial simulation efforts (2).
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