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Objective. To explore the cost-effectiveness of including standardized patients (SP) in the didactic curriculum for application and assessment of students’ pharmacist-patient communication skills.

Methods. Five role play/case study (RP/CS) activities from a communication skills curriculum were replaced with five SP encounters. Communication was assessed using a rubric. This study developed an economic model to examine the costs and effectiveness of replacing RP/CS events with SP events in knowledge-application and communication assessment. Costs consisted of SP hourly wages for training and delivery of SP events. Outcomes examined were the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per student.

Results. The ICER comparing SP to RP/CS was $100.93 higher per student on first-attempt pass rates and $9.04 per one-point increase in the mean score.

Conclusion. SP was more effective and more costly than RP/CS. Further research into students’ willingness to pay needs to occur before determining if using SPs is cost-effective in teaching communication skills.


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