The COVID-19 pandemic presented an enormous and immediate challenge to assessing clinical skills in healthcare professionals. Many institutions were unable to deliver established face-to-face assessment methods such as Objective Structured Clinical Assessments (OSCEs). Assessors needed to rapidly institute alternative assessment methods to ensure that candidates met the clinical competences required for progression. Using a systematic review, we aimed to evaluate the feasibility, and acceptability of remote methods of clinical skills assessment, including remote structured clinical assessments and the submission of video recordings. We searched for studies reporting on Remote Clinical Assessments or its variants in MEDLINE, Embase and The Cochrane library from 2000 to March 2021. Twenty eight studies were included in the review; 20 studies related to remote structured clinical examinations or OSCEs and 8 reported the use of video submissions. The participants of the different studies included medical students, nursing students, dental students and doctors in training. A variety of different online platforms were utilised including Zoom, Skype, webcams, and Adobe Connect online. The studies found that delivery of remote clinical assessments is possible and provides an alternative method of assessing many clinical skills, but most also acknowledge limitations and challenges. They are acceptable to both candidates and examiners, and where measured, show moderate agreement with on-site clinical assessments. Current evidence is based on studies with low methodological quality and for the most part, small sample sizes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
SKK is supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol.
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- clinical skills