Assessing the Believability of Standardized Patients Trained to Portray Communication Disorders Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the believability of standardized patients portraying individuals with communication disorders as part of a larger study in which standardized patients help train medical and allied health students about communication disorders. Method Two women portrayed persons with aphasia, and 2 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 15, 2017
Assessing the Believability of Standardized Patients Trained to Portray Communication Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carolyn Baylor
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Michael I. Burns
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Jennie Struijk
    Department of Health Sciences Academic Services, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Lindsay Herron
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Helen Mach
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Kathryn Yorkston
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Carolyn Baylor: cbaylor@uw.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Shelley Brundage
    Associate Editor: Shelley Brundage×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 15, 2017
Assessing the Believability of Standardized Patients Trained to Portray Communication Disorders
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2017, Vol. 26, 791-805. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0068
History: Received April 29, 2016 , Revised October 24, 2016 , Accepted December 27, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2017, Vol. 26, 791-805. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0068
History: Received April 29, 2016; Revised October 24, 2016; Accepted December 27, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the believability of standardized patients portraying individuals with communication disorders as part of a larger study in which standardized patients help train medical and allied health students about communication disorders.

Method Two women portrayed persons with aphasia, and 2 men depicted persons with dysarthria associated with Parkinson's disease. Two stakeholder groups rated believability. Speech-language pathologists rated believability of videos online. Persons with aphasia rated aphasia videos during in-person sessions with the researchers.

Results Targeted believability was 80 or higher (0–100 scale; 0 = not at all believable, 100 = very believable). For speech-language pathologist raters, average ratings met the target for the portrayals of the aphasia characteristics of word-finding problems, agrammaticism, nonverbal communication, and overall portrayal but not for auditory comprehension problems. Targets for the portrayals were met for the dysarthria characteristics of reduced speech movements, reduced loudness, reduced intonation, flat affect, and overall portrayal but not for speech rate. Ratings for different standardized patients portraying the same case were not significantly different from each other on most characteristics. Ratings from persons with aphasia were highly variable.

Conclusion Standardized patients who do not have communication disorders can portray disorder characteristics in a believable manner.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for funding this research (Grant R03DC012810; awarded to the principal investigator, Carolyn Baylor). Additional funding was provided to Helen Mach by the Stolov Research Fund in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington. The authors express immense gratitude to our standardized patients: Laurie, Rachel, John, Craig, and Scott, who provided so much guidance and teaching for us along the way. We thank all of the research participants, speech-language pathologists, and persons with aphasia, for their time and efforts in contributing to this project; we also thank the medical, nursing, and allied health students who participated in the larger training program. In addition, we acknowledge our student volunteers who assisted with data entry for this project.
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