Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 82–91

Teaching Advance Care Planning to Medical Students with a Computer-Based Decision Aid

Article

Abstract

Discussing end-of-life decisions with cancer patients is a crucial skill for physicians. This article reports findings from a pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of a computer-based decision aid for teaching medical students about advance care planning. Second-year medical students at a single medical school were randomized to use a standard advance directive or a computer-based decision aid to help patients with advance care planning. Students' knowledge, skills, and satisfaction were measured by self-report; their performance was rated by patients. 121/133 (91%) of students participated. The Decision-Aid Group (n = 60) outperformed the Standard Group (n = 61) in terms of students´ knowledge (p < 0.01), confidence in helping patients with advance care planning (p < 0.01), knowledge of what matters to patients (p = 0.05), and satisfaction with their learning experience (p < 0.01). Likewise, patients in the Decision Aid Group were more satisfied with the advance care planning method (p < 0.01) and with several aspects of student performance. Use of a computer-based decision aid may be an effective way to teach medical students how to discuss advance care planning with cancer patients.

Keywords

Advance directives Advance care planning Medical student education Computer-based instruction 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Humanities and Internal MedicinePenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Humanities and PediatricsPenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA

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