A web-based test of residents' skills in diagnostic radiology.
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PURPOSE: To develop an objective, Web-based tool for evaluating residents' knowledge of diagnostic radiology. METHODS: We developed and tested a Web-based evaluation tool (the Diagnostic Radiology Skills Test) that consists of 3 tests, one in each of 3 domains of diagnostic radiology: chest, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal imaging. Each test comprises 30 cases representing a range of difficulty in the domain, including normal states, normal variants, typical cases of common diagnoses, and cases with more subtle findings. Cases are presented with a long menu of domain-specific possible diagnoses (response options), each coded for diagnostic appropriateness. Our subjects were 21 residents in postgraduate year (PGY) 2 to 5 and 11 experts in diagnostic radiology. Subjects accessed the tool via a Web site on our Web server. Residents' test results were compared for reliability and validity across domain, case, and training level. In addition, results were correlated with commonly used established and objective evaluation tools. RESULTS: The tool demonstrated consistent monotonic improvement in performance with training level. It showed acceptable reliability in discriminating between residents at different performance levels, both within and across training levels (r= 0.53 within level and 0.69 across levels). Test results also had concurrent validity against the American College of Radiology In-Training Examination, a widely accepted objective assessment tool (r = 0.65, P < 0.01), and 2 Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) focusing on diagnostic skills (r= 0.78 and r= 0.69, P < 0.01, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of a Web-based, standardized, objective assessment method for evaluating residents' performance.
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