Using Simulated Patient Communication to Teach Provider Empathy

Patient EngagementHIT (03/16/20) Heath, Sara

A recent study evaluated Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine's simulation-based mastery learning program, which teaches clinicians empathy by simulating patient communication. Medical students demonstrate their existing knowledge in the pretest phase by breaking bad news to live actors playing patients. The mean scores following completion of the training program rose from 65% to up to 94.2%. "Students also reported feeling unprepared for these difficult conversations despite traditional education that included didactics and SP encounters during medical school," the researchers wrote. "Our findings suggest that providing communication skills training with more frequency and within the clinical years as embedded curricula during rotations where the skills are used is needed to best prepare students to enter residency training." The findings are reported in Academic Medicine.

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