BMC Med Educ. 2023 May 24;23(1):377. doi: 10.1186/s12909-023-04292-3.
BACKGROUND: Oral case presentations - structured verbal reports of clinical cases - are fundamental to patient care and learner education. Despite their continued importance in a modernized medical landscape, their structure has remained largely unchanged since the 1960s, based on the traditional Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan (SOAP) format developed for medical records. We developed a problem-based alternative known as Events, Assessment, Plan (EAP) to understand the perceived efficacy of EAP compared to SOAP among learners.
METHODS: We surveyed (Qualtrics, via email) all third- and fourth-year medical students and internal medicine residents at a large, academic, tertiary care hospital and associated Veterans Affairs medical center. The primary outcome was trainee preference in oral case presentation format. The secondary outcome was comparing EAP and SOAP on 10 functionality domains assessed via a 5-point Likert scale. We used descriptive statistics (proportion and mean) to describe the results.
RESULTS: The response rate was 21% (118/563). Of the 59 respondents with exposure to both the EAP and SOAP formats, 69% (n = 41) preferred the EAP format as compared to 19% (n = 11) who preferred SOAP (p < 0.001). EAP outperformed SOAP in 8 out of 10 of the domains assessed, including advancing patient care, learning from patients, and time efficiency.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that trainees prefer the EAP format over SOAP and that EAP may facilitate clearer and more efficient communication on rounds, which in turn may enhance patient care and learner education. A broader, multi-center study of the EAP oral case presentation will help to better understand preferences, outcomes, and barriers to implementation.