Background Patient dissatisfaction with information given and the attitude of staff generates the greatest number of written complaints to the NHS each year.1 Research has shown the importance of communication in the doctor-patient relationship and patient satisfaction.2 Communication skills are traditionally taught by role-play but this can be considered too artificial. Wearable cameras (e.g. Google Glass) and simulation have been used to generate patient’s ‘point of view’ video footage.3 There is limited research into using covert camera glasses to aid communication skills training.
Innovation This project trialled using the Spectacle Covert Camera glasses in an anaphylaxis scenario with two 3rd year medical students and an actor playing a stressful relative. The students consented to being filmed but were unaware of the scenario or the glasses. The students were debriefed after the scenario before watching the video. After watching the video on their own they completed a questionnaire which assessed how the video aided their awareness of communication skills. This simulation was based on a recent case at a coroner’s court which highlighted the importance of non-verbal communication (NVC) skills.
Outcomes The students found that it was difficult to focus on communication while in a high stress environment and they were unaware of their NVC. The video from the Spectacle Covert Camera raised their awareness of how body language impacted communication. The camera also allowed for accurate recall of events, verbal and non-verbal communication.
Take home messages
Covert camera glasses can help raise the awareness of NVC skills to medical students.
Comparative research using hidden camera glasses and simulation vs. traditional communication skills training is required in order to further assess their usefulness in teaching communication skills to medical students.
Workforce and Facilities Team, Health and Social Care Information Centre. Data on Written Complaints in the NHS. 2013–14
Siassakos, D. Team Communication with patient actors findings from a multisite simulation study. Sim Healthcare 2011;6:143–149
Tully J, et al. Recording medical students’ encounters with standardized patients using Google Glass: providing end-of-life clinical education. Acad Med 2015;90(3):314–16. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000620
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