Consumer involvement

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Consumer involvement in the design and delivery of examinations and assessments

As end users of the services performed by dental practitioners, consumers have a stake in the design and delivery of assessments and examinations. Internationally, consumer participation in the design and delivery of healthcare is gaining widespread recognition for its ability to assist in the provision of safe, quality services across the sector.  

For accreditation authorities, such as the Australian Dental Council (ADC), there is a growing interest in the benefits consumer and community groups can bring to accreditation and assessments. Specifically, what benefits these groups can bring to the design and delivery of dental examinations and assessments. 

To better understand this, the ADC appointed the University of Sydney to undertake scoping research into how other health-focused organisations, nationally and internationally, involve consumers in examinations and assessments. 

Analysing available literature on the topic, the literature review found consumer involvement was mainly used in the delivery of examinations and assessments by education and training providers, rather than accrediting authorities, such as the ADC. Where consumer involvement was used in education and training, this involvement was largely in relation to the assessment of non-technical skills, such as communication. 

Literature collected for this research found consumer involvement was most effective when consumers were given the opportunity to draw on their lived experience of healthcare to contribute to the development and implementation of assessment and examinations. This was enhanced further when consumers worked alongside academics and clinicians to create a well-rounded picture of student competence.

The literature review is available for download here.

Using these research findings, the ADC is leading innovative work to expand the role consumers have in the design and delivery of its assessments and examinations, with the goal to increase the authenticity and validity of the examination process. 

Focusing on the practical examination for overseas-qualified dental practitioners, this work will look at how input from consumer representatives can be incorporated into both the design of objective structured clinical examination tasks and the assessment of the communication skills within those tasks.