A multimedia patient simulation for teaching and assessing endodontic diagnosis.

John H. Littlefield, Elaine L. Demps, Karl Keiser, Lipika Chatterjee, Cheng H. Yuan, Kenneth M. Hargreaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Teaching and assessing diagnostic skills are difficult due to relatively small numbers of total clinical experiences and a shortage of clinical faculty. Patient simulations could help teach and assess diagnosis by displaying a well-defined diagnostic task, then providing informative feedback and opportunities for repetition and correction of errors. This report describes the development and initial evaluation of SimEndo I, a multimedia patient simulation program that could be used for teaching or assessing endodontic diagnosis. Students interact with a graphical interface that has four pull-down menus and related submenus. In response to student requests, the program presents patient information. Scoring is based on diagnosis of each case by endodontists. Pilot testing with seventy-four junior dental students identified numerous needed improvements to the user interface program. A multi-school field test of the interface program using three patient cases addressed three research questions: 1) How did the field test students evaluate SimEndo I? Overall mean evaluation was 8.1 on a 0 to 10 scale; 2) How many cases are needed to generate a reproducible diagnostic proficiency score for an individual student using the Rimoldi scoring procedure? Mean diagnostic proficiency scores by case ranged from .27 to .40 on a 0 to 1 scale; five cases would produce a score with a 0.80 reliability coefficient; and 3) Did students accurately diagnose each case? Mean correct diagnosis scores by case ranged from .54 to .78 on a 0 to 1 scale. We conclude that multimedia patient simulations offer a promising alternative for teaching and assessing student diagnostic skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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