How to Incorporate Standardized Patients in Courses

Plan Ahead!

Initial accuracy in planning your activity will ensure a more predictable and high-quality service.



  • Single student
  • Small group
  • Testing
  • Long-case, e.g.. complete history/physical
  • Multiple-skills sampling exercises, e.g.. OSCE


  • Clinical-skills techniques
  • Clinical presentation of pathology
  • Clinical presentation of symptoms, signs, or findings

Questions to think about when planning your activity

  • Where do you want the activity to take place (location and specific rooms)?
  • When were you thinking of conducting the activity (dates and times)?
  • What is the purpose of the activity (learning objectives or skills being assessed)?
  • Who is the activity for (students, practicing professionals, interprofessional, etc.)?
  • Do you have cases already prepared?
  • Do you want the SP to provide feedback (if so, verbal, written, or both)?
  • What do you want the activity to be called?

In order to accurately estimate the cost of activities, we need to fully understand both the conceptual goals of the activity as well as determine the program resources and logistics that are necessary to achieve those goals. This promotes both efficient internal processes and effective outcomes.

Development Time Frame

Exact time span for development from concept to completion will vary according to your needs.

The following estimates may be used as a guide:

  • SP case development: six to eight weeks.
  • SP recruitment and preparation: four to six weeks.
  • Planning, preparation, and execution of large-scale clinical examinations usually take four to six months from start to finish.


Estimates are individually prepared. Included categories are:

  • Patient time for preparation and presentation
  • Staff time for development and support
  • Material costs for preparation and presentation
  • Parking


Do you have an idea but are not sure how to make it happen? We can help guide you through the process of planning an activity. Call 412-648-8702, or send an e-mail to: