OBJECTIVES: To evaluate feasibility of and to validate a rating scale for t
wo educational programs that use standardized patient-instructors (SPIs) in
the office setting to improve physicians' HIV risk communication skills. D
ESIGN: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 or
dering, physician satisfaction questionnaire. RESULTS:Physicians found the
intervention useful, and predicted a positive effect on their future HIV-re
lated 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, wel
l-accepted, convenient, and inexpensive. Announced SPIs were preferred to u
nannounced SPIs. Pilot results suggesting improvement in HIV-related commun
ication should be confirmed in a larger randomized trial.