The SEGUE (Set the stage, Elicit information, Give information, Understand the patient's perspective, and End the encounter) Framework is a checklist-style rating scale to facilitate the teaching and assessment of communication skills in medical learners. It has been used for over 15 years, and it is recommended in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education toolbox of assessment methods for resident training. When it was developed, its ability to provide objective scoring was a substantial improvement over global ratings.
In this article we describe the strengths and weaknesses of the SEGUE Framework. We highlight one residency program's experience with using the SEGUE Framework to evaluate residents' communication skills. Specifically, we cite previous studies and describe our own analysis of resident interviewing performance that demonstrates how the SEGUE Framework did not distinguish between different levels of interviewing skill level in our sample.
Two case examples illustrate how the SEGUE Framework is not an ideal instrument to measure either the quality or the process of medical interviews.
Therefore, we propose a new method of contextualized assessment that builds on the SEGUE Framework. Our system evaluates discrete interviewing behaviors within the context of an ambulatory medical interview. We describe our interview structure, as well as a new instrument (the Wy-Mii, pronounced “why me”), to assess both communication and interpersonal skills. We expect that our new method of contextualized assessment will better differentiate between beginning and advanced levels of medical interviewing skills for residents.