Objective: To describe and evaluate a consensus finding and expert validation process for the development of patient-centred communication assessments for a national Licensing Exam in Medicine.
Methods: A multi-professional team of clinicians and experts in communication, assessment and role-play developed communication assessments for the Swiss Federal Licensing Examination. The six-month process, informed by a preceding national needs-assessment, an expert symposium and a critical literature review covered the application of patient-centred communication frameworks, the development of assessment guides, concrete assessments and pilot-tests. The participants evaluated the process.
Results: The multiple-step consensus process, based on expert validation of the medical and communication content, led to six high-stakes patient-centred communication OSCE-assessments. The process evaluation revealed areas of challenge such as calibrating rating-scales and case difficulty to the graduates' competencies and integrating differing opinions. Main success factors were attributed to the outcome-oriented process and the multi-professional exchange of expertise. A model for developing high stakes patient-centred communication OSCE-assessments was derived.
Conclusions: Consensus finding was facilitated by using well-established communication frameworks, by ensuring outcome-orientated knowledge exchange among multi-professional experts, and collaborative validation of content through experts.
Practice implications: We propose developing high-stakes communication assessments in a multi-professional expert consensus and provide a conceptual model.