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Exploring how differently patients and clinical tutors see the same consultation: building evidence for inclusion of real patient feedback in medical education

  • Barr, Jennifer1
  • Ogden, Kathryn1
  • Robertson, Iain2
  • Martin, Jenepher3
  • 1 University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia , Hobart (Australia)
  • 2 Clifford Craig Foundation, Launceston, Australia , Launceston (Australia)
  • 3 Monash University, Melbourne, Australia , Melbourne (Australia)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 29, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-021-02654-3
Springer Nature


BackgroundUndergraduate medical education recognises that patient feedback is potentially valuable for student learning and development as a component of multi-source feedback. However greater exploration of how patient feedback perspectives differ to clinical educators is required for curriculum development and improving student feedback literacy. This study aimed to determine how two sources of feedback, patients and clinical tutors, compare on the same patient-centred, interpersonal criteria.MethodsA patient feedback instrument designed for the undergraduate medical education setting was used to compare patients’ feedback with clinical tutors’ feedback following a student-patient consultation in the learning context. Assessments from 222 learning consultations involving 40 medical students were collected. Descriptive statistics for tutors and patients for each question were calculated and correlations between patient and tutor were explored using Spearman’s rank-order correlation. Mixed effects ordered logistic regression was used to compare each question with an overall rating for tutor and patients in addition to comparing patient with tutor ratings.ResultsClinical tutor and patient assessments had a weak but significant positive correlation in all areas except questions related to respect and concern. When making judgements compared with overall assessment, patients’ ratings of respect, concern, communication and being understood in the consultation have a greater effect. After eliminating the effect of generally higher ratings by patients compared with tutors using comparative ordered logistic regression, patients rated students relatively less competent in areas of personal interaction.ConclusionThis study provides insight about patient feedback, which is required to continue improving the use and acceptability of this multisource feedback to students as a valuable component of their social learning environment. We have revealed the different perspective-specific judgement that patients bring to feedback. This finding contributes to building respect for patient feedback through greater understanding of the elements of consultations for which patients can discriminate performance.

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