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Shared decision-making, in which physicians and patients openly explore beliefs, exchange information, and reach explicit closure, may represent optimal physician-patient communication. There are currently no universally accepted methods to assess medical students' competence in shared decision-making.
To characterize medical students' shared decision-making with standardized patients (SPs) and determine if students' use of shared decision-making correlates with SP ratings of their communication.
Retrospective study of medical students' performance with four SPs.
Sixty fourth-year medical students.
Objective blinded coding of shared decision-making quantified as decision moments (exploration/articulation of perspective, information sharing, explicit closure for a particular decision); SP scoring of communication skills using a validated checklist.
Of 779 decision moments generated in 240 encounters, 312 (40%) met criteria for shared decision-making. All students engaged in shared decision-making in at least two of the four cases, although in two cases 5% and 12% of students engaged in no shared decision-making. The most commonly discussed decision moment topics were medications (n = 98, 31%), follow-up visits (71, 23%), and diagnostic testing (44, 14%). Correlations between the number of decision moments in a case and students' communication scores were low (rho = 0.07 to 0.37).
Although all students engaged in some shared decision-making, particularly regarding medical interventions, there was no correlation between shared decision-making and overall communication competence rated by the SPs. These findings suggest that SP ratings of students' communication skill cannot be used to infer students' use of shared decision-making. Tools to determine students' skill in shared decision-making are needed.
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave, M1078, Box 0120, San Francisco, CA, 94143-0120, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of general internal medicine
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