Making English-speaking SP Program a Reality in Japan


The Japan Association of Simulated-Patients in English (JASPE) originated in 2012 with four foreign residents in Tokyo becoming involved in helping medical students develop doctor-patient communication skills in English. At the time, there were very few medical schools working with English-speaking SPs, but the demand has gradually increased (along with the number of foreign residents and visitors in Japan) and the SP group has grown through word of mouth. Today, there are more than 30 SPs from Australia, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, UK, US, etc. There are currently six universities that regularly utilize the SP program, as well as some other universities that collaborate with English-speaking SPs on an as-needed basis.

SPs are ‘simulated patients’ rather than ‘standardized patients.’ Foreign SPs from different backgrounds with various attitudes and ways of thinking challenge students to develop the skills necessary to care for diverse patients. Standardization, however, will become necessary when English OSCEs become implemented in the future.

SP training focuses on role portrayal and giving effective feedback. Based on each student’s English skills, SPs give simple feedback (in a positive-negative-positive format), or provide interactive feedback.

For more details on JASPE please visit the website here.

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