Improving physicians' HIV risk-assessment skills using announced and unannounced standardized patients

Ronald M. Epstein, Jeffrey C. Levenkron, Lisabeth Frarey, Jay Thompson, Kathryn Anderson, Peter Franks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate feasibility of and to validate a rating scale for two educational programs that use standardized patient-instructors (SPIs) in the office setting to improve physicians' HIV risk communication skills. DESIGN: Pilot randomized trial of announced and unannounced SPIs. PARTICIPANTS/SETTINGS: Twenty four primary care physicians in the Rochester, NY, area. MEASUREMENTS: The Rochester HIV Interview Rating Scale (RHIRS), HIV test ordering, physician satisfaction questionnaire. RESULTS: Physicians found the intervention useful, and predicted a positive effect on their future HIV-related communication. HIV test ordering and RHIRS scores increased similarly in both intervention groups. Announced SPI visits were more convenient and preferred by physicians. Cost for each SPI visit was $75. CONCLUSIONS: A brief office-based intervention using SPIs was feasible, well-accepted, convenient, and inexpensive. Announced SPIs were preferred to unannounced SPIs. Pilot results suggesting improvement in HIV-related communication should be confirmed in a larger randomized trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV risk assessment
  • Medical education
  • Standardized patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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