Resident assessment tends to consist of multiple-choice examinations, even in nuanced areas, such as quality assurance. Internal medicine and many other specialties use objective structured clinical examinations, or OSCEs, to evaluate residents. We adapted the OSCE for pathology, termed the Objective Structured Pathology Examination (OSPE).
The OSPE was used to evaluate first- and second-year residents over 2 years. The simulation included an anatomic pathology sign-out session, where the resident could be evaluated on diagnostic skills and knowledge of key information for cancer staging reports, as well as simulated frozen-section analysis, where the resident could be evaluated on communication skills with a "surgeon." The OSPE also included smaller cases with challenging quality issues, such as mismatched slides or gross description irregularities. All cases were scored based on the Pathology Milestones created by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Using this OSPE, we were able to demonstrate that simulated experiences can be an appropriate tool for standardized evaluation of pathology residents.
Yearly evaluation using the OSPE could be used to track the progress of both individual residents and the residency program as a whole, identifying problem areas for which further educational content can be developed.