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March 29, 2021

Paper OSCEs in a Digital World: What Are You Missing?

In the healthcare industry, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a cornerstone assessment method that evaluates the student competence for a range of skills and provides invaluable learner-centered feedback. The trouble with simulation-based assessments, such as OSCEs, is they can be logistically complex to administer and create large volumes of assessment data for future review. These paper-based assessments can generate endless stacked piles on the corner of a desk. These challenges make OSCEs the ideal technology adoption candidate for universities' digitized marking systems.

A technology-enabled OSCE utilizes a modernized approach to the examination, which simplifies and optimizes the examiner's process before, during, and after the OSCE exam. Implementing a workflow-based technology elevates the way OSCEs are prepared for, administered, and tracked.  


Benefits of Digitization

Numerous benefits are cited by universities that have employed electronic OSCEs within their evaluation process. Here is a look at the top 5.

  1. Increased Feedback - Meaningful and timely feedback is a critical part of the OSCEs. Studies have shown that when universities transition OSCEs from paper to technology-marked examinations, the feedback students received from faculty increased in both quantity and quality. One direct comparison of exams administered by paper versus iPad recorded a rise of 10% in feedback with more constructive comments.1
  2. Minimized Subjectivity - Electronic OSCEs standardize the scoring process and minimize subjectivity during the evaluation with automated scoring. Checkpoints within the technology prevent missing data or entry errors that happen frequently and are routinely found after-the-fact with paper-based exams. What's more, the subjectivity decreased because the technology standardized the scoring method.
  3. Improved Visibility - The digital OSCE enables professors to quickly identify and direct further learning for the students that need it. Unlike a paper process, the technology tracks, stores, and reports the data in one location. Real-time and historical data are visible anytime with the click of a button. Uncomplicated, enhanced visibility enables the examiner to focus on the student.
  4. Ease of Use - Today’s technology makes many facets of life more manageable. User-friendly tap, swipe, and go functionality delivers paper-free, flexible testing for faculty and allows prompt feedback for students. In a 2019 study of paper versus electronic examinations, 84% of those survey noted the iPad was easier to use than the paper form.2
  5. Telehealth Evaluation and Communication - Whether it be for social distancing or logistical reasons, most will agree the OSCE paper exams are less than ideal during current healthcare challenges. Digitizing the OSCE ensures the exam can be easily managed from remote, web-based locations in a pandemic-friendly telehealth setting.


The CLARIFIRE OSCE solution provides universities with scoring that is automatically digitized and streamlined. Dashboard views of key data elements provide faculty with unprecedented, real-time visibility of completed evaluations. Robust reporting highlights trends for students, faculty, and environments.

As subject matter experts in process improvement, our team partners with universities, collaborating with administrators and faculty to ensure ease of use, successful adoption, and an improved OSCE process.

Please find out more by calling our process improvement experts at 866.222.3370 or visit






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Lauren Walling

Lauren Walling is a graduate of Emory University with a degree in Industrial Psychology, as well as an MBA from the John Sykes School of Business from The University of Tampa. She is a member of the Healthcare Business Women's Association, National Association of Professional Women, and the Morton Plant Corporate Membership and Planters Society. Lauren works with large Healthcare Systems implementing Patient Experience and Outcome Solutions that streamline processes, increase patient experience and improve quality and safety. 
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