Clinical skills are a vital part of a physician’s ability to diagnose various conditions. It is widely accepted that up to 90% of all diagnoses are made on the basis of the history alone. Despite the ever increasing role of technology in medicine, it is the physician’s core clinical skills that are essential time and time again. As such, there are a number of recently released applications that focus on improving these key skills. We recently reviewed Physical Exam Essentials and Clinical Exam, and now we focus on OSCE Trainer by 1-2-1 Medicine.
OSCE Trainer is designed as a revision aid for medical students and contains 47 mock OSCE test sheets which can be worked through in pairs where one student is the ‘Doctor’ and the other is the ‘Examiner’. Each exam is tested by means of a checklist to practice and ensure that the correct procedure is followed. Students can work through three different categories of exam which they are likely to be tested on: Practical Skills, Clinical Skills and History Taking. Although this is a free application, it is pertinent to note that the Clinical Skills and History Taking are only available as in-app purchases of $2.99.
Practical Skills covers a wide range of tasks such as drug administration and basic life support; Clinical Skills focuses on the physical exam itself. There is a wide range of exams covered which is advantageous when compared to other contemporary applications.
Another practical feature is the ‘definitions’ section where users can search for common terms. Although the detail is basic, the ability to search for images related to each term is useful. The addition of a flashcard style ‘Test Me’ mode is beneficial, but it could be improved with the addition of more clinical implications.
The history section is another practical section: the ‘Examiner’ reads a patient case report and check off items as the ‘Doctor’ asks them. Usefully, there is a wide range of histories and associated knowledge.
Significant use of statistics is made throughout the application. Test results are stored and can be reviewed at any time allowing the ‘Doctor’ to identify areas of weakness. Results for each test can also be emailed in a CSV format if desired. Furthermore, it is possible to adjust the length of time for each test in addition to a warning alarm when the test is nearly finished.
The exam mode generates a practice exam which combines tests from each section to better replicate an actual OSCE exam. The number of stations is adjustable and upon completion of the exam, the user is presented with their statistics.
It is difficult to identify drawbacks within this application, although the application’s inability to add user notes to each test is a minor drawback. The addition of editing notes to each test would strengthen an otherwise complete application.
- The app is free but two in-app purchases of $2.99 are required to obtain full functionality
- Comprehensive range of tests
- Advantageous use of statistics
- More information and content in the definitions section would be a welcome addition
- Inability to add user notes to each test
OSCE Trainer is one of the most complete apps available in terms of content, ease of use, functionality and overall utility. It is highly recommended for students preparing for OSCE exams or those wishing to practice their clinical skills. It offers good value for the money and is sure to improve the practical skills of those who use it.