Background: Despite published literature demonstrating deficiencies in chest radiograph (CXR)/basic radiology interpretation skills of 4th-year medical students, studies and subsequent curricula regarding the training needed to obtain these skills are lacking. Terms such as clinical exposure and radiology teaching have been used to describe the experience for these basic interpretive skills, but best practice methods of delivery, let alone common methods, have yet to be defined. Purpose: The objective is to describe the current methods of teaching and assessing CXR/basic radiology interpretation skills across institutions on the 3rd-year internal medicine (IM) clerkship. Methods: In 2005, the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM), an international organization representing U.S. and Canadian medical schools, surveyed its institutional members. Twelve questions on the survey dealt with X-ray interpretation. Results: Eighty-eight of 109 members (81%) responded to the survey. Overall, 81% of respondents felt that CXR interpretation is an important clinical skill for medical students. Seventy-six percent indicated that instruction in these skills occurs on the IM clerkship. The most cited methods of instruction were lectures (56%) and teaching rounds (48%). Most schools spent on average of 2 to 4 hr during the IM clerkship on formal radiology instruction. Only 33% indicated that radiology interpretation skills are assessed during the clerkship. The most common assessment methods were written examination (19%) and OSCE (19%). Conclusion: Substantive data regarding attainment and assessment of CXR/basic radiology interpretation skills in the undergraduate curriculum are lacking. Our study provides preliminary descriptive data regarding CXR instruction and assessment on the 3rd-year IM clerkship.
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