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Using digital OSCE software can improve and bring efficiencies to your OSCE exam processes. However, changing the way you administer your OSCEs may be a daunting prospect.  Speedwell’s eSystem exam software can help to make moving to digital OSCEs as easy and pain-free as possible. Whilst at the same time providing added benefits to your organisation and exams.

Testing practical competencies

OSCE exams are a staple in any health sciences training. They are largely considered the most appropriate and effective method of testing performance and knowledge in a real-life practical scenario. Where traditional essay or MCQ exams can test knowledge, they fall short when it comes to evaluating competency in a clinical setting.

With OSCEs, it’s possible to cover key areas that are hard to assess with other exam formats. For instance, communication – where a candidate’s patient rapport and ability to break bad news can be evaluated. Both important skills for any future clinician. Their decision-making skills and ability to react and respond appropriately to unpredictable patient behaviour are other examples.

Furthermore, for students, OSCE examinations present the opportunity to experience realistic scenarios with no risk to patients. Not only this but, confidence is also built via real-world practice.

Easing the burden

Although the benefits of OSCEs are apparent, they are also complex to set-up with multiple elements requiring coordination. For the exam administrator, the logistical task is huge, not to mention time-consuming and stressful.

Fortunately, that does not need to be the case. Whilst we can’t help with the physical side of arranging appropriate clinical settings or simulated patients. We can help ease the administrative burden. By using the eSystem to run digital OSCEs, we can help ensure the exam set-up is simple and that the exam runs as smoothly as possible. And with a digital OSCE software, there is no printing of exam papers or collation to worry about.

With the eSystem offline OSCE app, it’s possible to run digital OSCEs offline. Perfect for remote locations or where Wi-Fi is unreliable or not available. To minimise the administration involved in exam set-up, it includes an auto-install/uninstall function. There is no need to set-up the exam individually on each tablet; this feature makes it possible to install (or uninstall) digital OSCEs on multiple tablets with the single press of a button.

There is less margin for error too. During an exam, it is not possible for examiners to move on to the next station without completing all the necessary elements. Removing the potential for missing feedback. And once the exam is complete, it’s possible with one click, to auto collect the answers from all tablets again. Furthermore, post-exam, results and student feedback can be turned around rapidly. Using the eSystem’s in-built tools you can analyse exams, results and provide student feedback reports quickly and easily.

Running digital OSCEs with the eSystem will not only minimise stress and ease the administrative load, but it will give you more time to focus on other tasks and improving future examinations.

Overcoming apprehension

Despite the benefits, it’s understandable to be apprehensive when considering changing your OSCE process. Especially if you currently have a method that works.

This was exactly the dilemma facing staff at UCL Medical School when they were considering moving away from paper OSCEs. Ultimately, the administrative savings and efficiency gains on offer with digital OSCE software were too great to ignore. Already using Speedwell’s eSystem for their question bank, in 2018, they extended their licence to include digital OSCEs.

They ran their first digital OSCE in February, and all went well. Afterwards, everyone involved was delighted and completely on board with using the software for all OSCEs in the future.

Gaynor Jones, Head of MBBS Management at UCL commented:

“It was amazing, after the success of the first exams, all apprehension was completely gone. Everyone was delighted and once they had seen it working so well there was pressure to move all of the OSCEs over as soon as possible”

After running two further exams, UCL is intending for all OSCEs in the 2018/2019 academic year to be digital. Read the full case study here

Trial digital OSCEs yourself

To find out more about digital OSCEs, or (if you are not ready to take the leap to eOSCEs) how eSystem can help improve your processes alongside paper exams, talk to the team. Contact our sales team on +44 (0) 1223 851703 or email info@speedwellsoftware.com for more information, a demonstration or to arrange a free trial.