Successful digitization of OSCE exam

4 April 2023

Compared to traditional theoretical examinations, this oral-practical test as part of medical studies requires considerable effort in terms of personnel, logistics and materials. The Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane (MHB) has now introduced a system called UCAN to digitize the exam and thus to ensure more quality, transparency, convenience and fairness in the evaluation process.

Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) are a modern exam format to assess students’ skills in handling medical routines and appropriate patient management. They comprise a series of subsequent stations and cover anamnesis, problem-solving, physical examination, interpretation of findings and patient management. Students have six minutes respectively to complete an assignment before they go on to the next station. Each station is monitored by one examiner who assesses a student’s performance. For this assessment of 6th-semester students, up to now in paper form, MHB examiners now use tablets. The UCAN system relies on a modern network of medical schools with a joint database and exchange of information. Exam questions and assignments compiled from this collaboration may be used by the faculties and institutes involved.

Dr. Mauricio Sendeski, medical director of the MHB-Skills Lab, is pleased to point out that the MHB has joined the first league of medical schools in Germany performing OSCEs in terms of quality, security and efficiency. The number of universities using the system is still small. According to Dr. Sendeski, its introduction at the MHB constitutes a milestone in quality control and enhancement because it avoids manual input errors and offers standardized comments on deduction of points. In addition, the new digital format improves the security of exam data since all entries are filed not only on mobile devices but also on a local university server: “This guarantees evaluation in real time. All steps of assessment by examiners are immediately filed as screenshots on the iPads, the same as possible corrections, so that the entire assessment process can be traced in terms of time and content. Increased efficiency is a further advantage of the new system: upon synchronization of all devices with the server, all examination results are available within minutes, practically in real time, whereas the paper form used previously required several hours of work at the exam office.”