A Systematic Review of the Quality and Utility of Observer-Based Instruments for Assessing Medical Professionalism

Yu Heng Kwan, Kelly Png, Jie Kie Phang, Ying Ying Leung, Hendra Goh, Yi Seah, Julian Thumboo, Swee Cheng Ng, Warren Fong, Desiree Lie
Submitted: December, 2018

We systematically reviewed the psychometric properties and utility of existing observer-based instruments for assessing professionalism in medical trainees. We scored the utility of each instrument based on the ability to distinguish performance levels over time, availability of objective scoring criteria, validity evidence in medical students and residents, and instrument length. Among 10 instruments, the Education Outcomes Service (EOS) group questionnaire and Professionalism Mini-Evaluation Exercise (P-MEX) possessed the best psychometric properties, with the P-MEX scoring higher on utility than the EOS group questionnaire. The P-MEX may be an option for program directors to adopt as an observer-based instrument for formative assessment of medical professionalism. Further studies of the 2 instruments to aggregate additional validity evidence is recommended, particularly in the domain of content validity before they are used in specific cultural settings and in summative assessments.

  • Tools & Instruments
  • Medical Teaching