Virtual Standardized Patients vs Academic Training for Learning Motivational Interviewing Skills in the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Military: A Randomized Trial

Lead Author: Greg M. Reger, PhD, et al
Submitted by: Marsha Harman, Rush Center for Clinical Skills and Simulation

What is the efficacy of training with a virtual standardized patient (VSP) compared with traditional academic study for learning motivational interviewing (MI) skills? Findings In this randomized trial of 120 health care professionals, training with a virtual standardized patient resulted in significantly greater improvements in 3 of 4 motivational interviewing composite skill scores, including the technical global score, the relational global score, and the reflection-to-question ratio, compared with academic study.

Virtual standardized patients offer an effective, scalable, and easy-to-disseminate training intervention. As an SP Educator, the most interesting piece in this study to me was that human standardized patients were used to test the skills of both groups throughout the process – a baseline assessment, after the first intervention, and again after the second three months later. Another interesting finding was that the participants in the control group (who did not interact with VSPs) perceived themselves to be as well prepared as those in the VSP group, but did not perform as well.

Read the full article in JAMA Network Open here.

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