UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Enhancement of the assessment of physician-patient communication skills in the United States Medical Licensing Examination

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



*Communication; Educational Measurement; Humans; *Licensure, Medical; Patient Simulation; *Physician-Patient Relations; United States


Medical Education


The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) reviewed all components of the United States Medical Licensing Examination as part of a strategic planning activity. One recommendation generated from the review called for enhancements of the communication skills component of the Step 2 Clinical Skills (Step 2 CS) examination. To address this recommendation, the NBME created a multidisciplinary team that comprised experts in communication content, communication measurement, and implementation of standardized patient (SP)-based examinations. From 2007 through 2012, the team reviewed literature in physician-patient communication, examined performance characteristics of the Step 2 CS exam, observed case development and quality assurance processes, interviewed SPs and their trainers, and reviewed video recordings of examinee-SP interactions. The authors describe perspectives gained by their team from the review process and outline the resulting enhancements to the Step 2 CS exam, some of which were rolled out in June 2012.

DOI of Published Version



Acad Med. 2013 Nov;88(11):1670-5. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a7f75a. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

PubMed ID