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MANUSCRIPT: Development and implementation of a mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise (mini-CEX) program to assess the clinical competencies of internal medicine residents: from faculty development to curriculum evaluation

Background
The mini-CEX is a valid and reliable method to assess the clinical competencies of trainees. Its data could be useful for educators to redesign curriculum as a process of quality improvement. The aim of this study was to evaluate a mini-CEX assessment program in our internal medicine residency training. We investigated the impact of mini-CEX workshops as a faculty development program on the acquisition of cognitive knowledge and the difference of practice behaviors among faculty members used the mini-CEX to assess residents’ performance at work.

Methods
We designed an observational, two-phase study. In the faculty development program, we started a mini-CEX workshop for trainers in 2010, and the short-term outcome of the program was evaluated by comparing the pretest and posttest results to demonstrate the improvement in cognitive knowledge on mini-CEX. From September 2010 to August 2011, we implemented a monthly mini-CEX assessment program in our internal medicine residency training. The data of these mini-CEX assessment forms were collected and analyzed.

Results
In the group of 49 mini-CEX workshop attendees, there was a statistically significant improvement in cognitive knowledge by comparing the pretest and posttest results (67.35 +/- 15.25 versus 81.22 +/- 10.34, p < 0.001). Among the 863 clinical encounters of mini-CEX, which involved 97 residents and 139 evaluators, 229(26.5%), 326(37.8%), and 308(35.7%) evaluations were completed by the first-year, second-year, and third- year residents separately. We found a statistically significant interaction between level of training and score in dimensions of mini-CEX. The scores in all dimensions measured were better for senior residents. Participation in mini-CEX workshops as a faculty development program strengthened the adherence of trainers to the principles of mini-CEX as a formative assessment in regard to provision of feedback. However, a deficiency in engaging residents’ reflection was found.

Conclusions
Faculty development is a prerequisite to train evaluators in order to implement a successful mini-CEX assessment program. We demonstrated the effectiveness of our mini-CEX workshops in terms of knowledge acquisition and enhancement of giving feedback when the faculty members used the tool. Further programs on providing effective feedback should be conducted to increase the impact of the mini-CEX as a formative assessment.

via BMC Medical Education | Abstract | Development and implementation of a mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise (mini-CEX) program to assess the clinical competencies of internal medicine residents: from faculty development to curriculum evaluation.

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Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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