Money makes the (medical assessment) world go round: The cost of components of a summative final year Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

Craig Brown, Sarah Ross, Jennifer Cleland (Corresponding Author), Kieran Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction: The widely used Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is undoubtedly expensive. Cost-effectiveness is one of the components of the assessment utility index defining its usefulness. Our current financial climate demands increased transparency in the costs associated with medical education and it is now vital to ascertain how much is spent on assessments, such as the OSCE, and in particular costs associated with the different types of stations within the OSCE.

Methods: A retrospective case-study approach was used to identify all costs associated with the development, production, administration and post-examination phases of the 2013 final year MBChB OSCE at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. This 15 station OSCE was held over 2 days for 185 students.

Results: This OSCE cost £65,328 to run. Costs per station ranged from £3108 (prescribing) to £6577 (eye examination). The cost per student was £355.

Discussion: The costs of a “high stakes” OSCE are sobering. The bulk of costs identified are not modifiable in light of what is currently known about the metrics of OSCE utility, particularly reliability and validity.

Conclusion: Providers, and funders, of medical education must be prepared to assign significant resource to OSCE assessment and centres should be encouraged to calculate precise costs associated with assessment to inform resource allocation decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume37
Issue number7
Early online date29 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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