Session #3: Observed Patient Encounter (OPE)


Goals of Observed Patient Encounter:

• Patient Care and Clinical Skills: Elicit focused histories and perform appropriate physical exams. Discuss the relevant diagnostic tests, differential and management plan, including health promotion and prevention.

• Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Deliver succinct oral presentations and comprehensive written notes. Improve communication skills with patients and family members

• Medical knowledge: Strengthen basic medical knowledge in real patient encounters including knowledge of psychosocial and family issues.

• Professionalism:  Demonstrate behaviors of integrity and compassion with patients. Give and receive relevant feedback with colleagues.

The OPE assignment gives students an opportunity to be observed by their campus clerkship director while providing clinical care. The campus clerkship director will provide more detailed instructions about this assignment during the small group learning sessions.

Students will either video record an encounter with a patient in the practice using Flip recorder and bring recording to campus clerkship director to be reviewed or the campus clerkship director will arrange for student to see a patient at the AHEC campus.  Students can record just one encounter or record several and then pick their favorite to share with the group.

Details of Assignment:

-          Students will record multiple patient encounters for acute complaints using a Flip recorder.  Remember to get the patient’s permission. Follow this link for the permission form.

-          Students should record the entire visit:

  • The history and physical (do not record sensitive exams)
  • The precepting encounter
  • The student delivering their assessment and plan to the patient

-          Students will then review their recordings and choose one video to share with their colleagues.  This is the video that will be evaluated by the campus director.

-          An ideal encounter would include the following:

  • Good video positioning so the group can see & hear the encounter
  • Timely interview – aim for the entire video to be around 30 min
  • Reasonable complexity of complaint in order to highlight your clinical reasoning – avoid a very complex patient and a very obvious diagnosis (e.g. simple viral URI)
  • A patient with good clinical teaching points

-          To prepare for the video review:

  • Have your video uploaded to your laptop
  • Erase it from the flip camera
  • Share one element of your encounter that you think you did well
  • Share one area where you would like feedback from the group regarding your interaction with the patient. (e.g. how could I have asked this question differently, was there a better way to address smoking cessation etc)
  • Share one brief clinical teaching point that you learned from this patient. (e.g. Centor criteria for pharyngitis)

-          Please email your campus director as soon as you have selected your case.  Include the topic/diagnosis of the patient visit


The encounter will be evaluated and students will receive feedback using the OPE Evaluation Form. Students will have the option of repeating the encounter only at the discretion of the campus clerkship director.