Effects of a patient's name and image on medical knowledge acquisition
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The two-fold aim of this study was to determine if there are differences in medical students' (MS) knowledge acquisition after being provided with (1) virtual patient (VP) case summaries with a patient's name and facial image included and with no patient's name or facial image; and (2) complete VP cases and their summaries. Seventy six MS from four clerkship blocs participated in this study. MS from bloc one (n =18) and three (n=22) were provided with a VP case summary containing a patient's name and facial image while MS from bloc two (n=17) and four (n=19) were provided with a similar summary but without the patient's name or facial image. All MS completed an examination (CQA_K) to assess knowledge acquisition from the summary in addition to their routine clerkship examinations (CQ1, CQ2, CQ3, and CQ4). CQA_K score was 64.65% for bloc one and 76.03% for bloc three. Bloc two score was 71.66% and 68.42% for bloc four. F-test was not significant between blocs; F (3, 72) = 1.678, p = 0.179. MS mean score on the CQA_K was 70.46%, 79.08% on CQ1, 85.38% on CQ2, 84.32% on CQ3, and 81.34% on CQ4. F-test revealed a significant difference between tests' scores; F (4, 375) = 14.34, p < 0.0001. Pairwise comparisons demonstrated a statistically significantly lower score on the CQA_K compared to the other tests. The results of this study show that including a name and facial image on MS' instructional materials may not improve knowledge acquisition and that providing a VP case summary may result in less knowledge acquisition than providing complete VP cases. Corroborating studies should be performed before applying these results to the design of medical instructional materials.
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