Cost-effectiveness of using standardized patients to assess student-pharmacist communication skills

Chris Gillette, Robert B. Stanton, Nicole Rockich-Winston, Michael Rudolph, H. Glenn Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6120
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of pharmaceutical education
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Prescription medications
  • Standardized patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics


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