McMaster University

McMaster University

Guidelines for Conducting the McMaster-Ottawa TOSCE Within your Practice

Why should your team use this tool?

To improve team function:

  • It’s fun!
  • It’s been well received
  • It’s been rigorously developed and tested
  • Helps you and your team understand what collaboration in healthcare is really all about
  • Improves collaboration and communication within your practice
  • Provides a quick assessment of how your team is functioning
  • It is an innovative way to incorporate new providers or learners into the team
  • Useful way to engage and enhance team function
  • Improves team members knowledge of other disciplines scope of practice
  • Can be used as either an educational experience or an evaluation tool

To improve patient care and outcome:

  • Improved collaboration among providers will lead to improved patient outcomes
  • Apply patient cases from within your practice to the TOSCE tool
  • Facilitates short- and long-term patient care plan discussions

"I have become more aware of the complexities of dealing with patients within primary care and the need to communicate with all the disciplines in order to provide effective health care."

— Quote from team participant

When (and with whom) to use the TOSCE tool

  • Highly flexible tool that can be adapted to your practice environment
  • New teams or when a new member or learner comes on the team
  • Existing teams as part of your regular education program or continuing development
  • Consider scheduling during lunch time, business meetings, yearly retreats, etc (each station takes 30-40 minutes)

How to use the McMaster-Ottawa TOSCE

The following guidelines are reflective of the use of the TOSCE as a formative evaluation tool:

Getting started

  1. Review the station materials included in this Tool Kit and select 1-2 TOSCEs that you feel are most relevant to your needs.
  2. As a team, decide who would like to participate in this exercise.  We suggest 3-6 participants.
  3. We encourage you to have a mix of health professionals participating.  In our recent evaluation project we found the participation of a physician on the team was very important.
  4. Each team member might want to read the brief summary (2 pages) of the TOSCE tool included in this Tool Kit prior to the TOSCE session. This summary provides a brief history of the development of the McMaster-Ottawa TOSCE tool and its value within the primary care setting (based on our recent validation project).
  5. Depending on how many TOSCEs you plan to use in one session, schedule 30-40 minutes per TOSCE (20 minutes for the TOSCE and 10-20 minutes for debriefing discussion).
    • If you are using a station that involves someone role-playing a patient, allow an additional 10 minutes for the TOSCE.
    • Select 1-2 team members (or colleagues from another practice) to participate as the observer(s). Those participating in this role should review the observation and assessment section of this Tool Kit.
    • Make copies of the station materials for each participant. It is the observer's responsibility to distribute the station materials at the start of the session
  6. Have fun!

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