Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 129187, 9 pages
Research Article

Training Family Medicine Residents in Effective Communication Skills While Utilizing Promotoras as Standardized Patients in OSCEs: A Health Literacy Curriculum

1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5920 Forest Park Road, Dallas, TX 75390-9165, USA
2Department of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Texas Southwestern School of Health Professions, 6011 Harry Hines Boulevard, Suite V4.114, Dallas, TX 75390-9090, USA
3Pediatric Residency Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado, 13123 E. 16th Avenue, B-158, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

Received 3 June 2015; Revised 26 August 2015; Accepted 3 September 2015

Academic Editor: Samuel Y. S. Wong

Copyright © 2015 Patti Pagels et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Future health care providers need to be trained in the knowledge and skills to effectively communicate with their patients with limited health literacy. The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate a curriculum designed to increase residents’ health literacy knowledge, improve communication skills, and work with an interpreter. Materials and Methods. Family Medicine residents participated in a health literacy training which included didactic lectures and an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Community promotoras acted as standardized patients and evaluated the residents’ ability to measure their patients’ health literacy, communicate effectively using the teach-back and Ask Me 3 methods, and appropriately use an interpreter. Pre- and postknowledge, attitudes, and postdidactic feedback were obtained. We compared OSCE scores from the group that received training (didactic group) and previous graduates. Residents reported the skills they used in practice three months later. Results. Family Medicine residents showed an increase in health literacy knowledge and scored in the adequately to expertly performed range in the OSCE. Residents reported using the teach-back method (77.8%) and a translator more effectively (77.8%) three months later. Conclusions. Our innovative health literacy OSCE can be replicated for medical learners at all levels of training.