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BACKGROUND: Non-technical skills (NTS) assessment tools are widely used to provide formative and summative assessment for healthcare professionals and there are now many of them. This study has examined three different tools designed for similar settings and gathered evidence to test their validity and usability. METHODS: Three NTS assessment tools designed for use in the UK were used by three experienced faculty to review standardized videos of simulated cardiac arrest scenarios: ANTS (Anesthetists' Non-Technical Skills), Oxford NOTECHS (Oxford NOn-TECHnical Skills) and OSCAR (Observational Skill based Clinical Assessment tool for Resuscitation). Internal consistency, interrater reliability and quantitative and qualitative analysis of usability were analyzed for each tool. RESULTS: Internal consistency and interrater reliability (IRR) varied considerably for the three tools across NTS categories and elements. Intraclass correlation scores of three expert raters ranged from poor (task management in ANTS [0.26] and situation awareness (SA) in Oxford NOTECHS [0.34]) to very good (problem solving in Oxford NOTECHS [0.81] and cooperation [0.84] and SA [0.87] in OSCAR). Furthermore, different statistical tests of IRR produced different results for each tool. Quantitative and qualitative examination of usability also revealed challenges in using each tool. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of standardization of NTS assessment tools and training in their use is unhelpful for healthcare educators and students. Educators require ongoing support in the use of NTS assessment tools for the evaluation of individual healthcare professionals or healthcare teams. Summative or high-stakes examinations using NTS assessment tools should be undertaken with at least two assessors to provide consensus scoring. In light of the renewed focus on simulation as an educational tool to support and enhance training recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19, it is even more important that assessment of these vital skills is standardized, simplified and supported with adequate training.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Med Educ

Publication Date





Internal consistency, Interrater reliability, Nontechnical skills assessment, Response process, Simulation-based education, Usability, Validity, Humans, Adult, Clinical Competence, Reproducibility of Results, COVID-19, Health Personnel, Educational Measurement