Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 979–984 | Cite as

Automatic Capture of Student Notes to Augment Mentor Feedback and Student Performance on Patient Write-Ups

  • Anderson Spickard III
  • Joseph Gigante
  • Glenn Stein
  • Joshua C. Denny
Original Article



To determine whether the integration of an automated electronic clinical portfolio into clinical clerkships can improve the quality of feedback given to students on their patient write-ups and the quality of students’ write-ups.


The authors conducted a single-blinded, randomized controlled study of an electronic clinical portfolio that automatically collects all students’ clinical notes and notifies their teachers (attending and resident physicians) via e-mail. Third-year medical students were randomized to use the electronic portfolio or traditional paper means. Teachers in the portfolio group provided feedback directly on the student’s write-up using a web-based application. Teachers in the control group provided feedback directly on the student’s write-up by writing in the margins of the paper. Outcomes were teacher and student assessment of the frequency and quality of feedback on write-ups, expert assessment of the quality of student write-ups at the end of the clerkship, and participant assessment of the value of the electronic portfolio system.


Teachers reported giving more frequent and detailed feedback using the portfolio system (p = 0.01). Seventy percent of students who used the portfolio system, versus 39% of students in the control group (p = 0.001), reported receiving feedback on more than half of their write-ups. Write-ups of portfolio students were rated of similar quality to write-ups of control students. Teachers and students agreed that the system was a valuable teaching tool and easy to use.


An electronic clinical portfolio that automatically collects students’ clinical notes is associated with improved teacher feedback on write-ups and similar quality of write-ups.


portfolio feedback medical education 



This work was funded in part by a grant from the National Library of Medicine (LM007450-04).

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anderson Spickard III
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Joseph Gigante
    • 2
  • Glenn Stein
    • 3
  • Joshua C. Denny
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical InformaticsVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Vanderbilt School of MedicineNashvilleUSA

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