Medical curriculum: how do we manage incidental findings in educational settings?

Ourania Varsou*, Alun Hughes, Robert Anthony Humphreys, Anita Helen Laidlaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

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Medical curricula encompass two practical-based teaching categories with likelihood of identifying incidental findings (unexpected and previously undiagnosed findings with potential health implications) in live models for demonstration purposes. One relates to clinical skills involving peers and simulated or volunteer patients. The other involves laboratory sessions, with live models, for the purposes of demonstrating scientific principles. As educationalists, it is our professional and ethical duty to have guidance on how to manage incidental findings. In this commentary, we have outlined our best practice guidelines formalised as a written policy exploring consent, debriefing, and the teachers’ role. Our aim was to develop an ‘easy-to-follow’ standardised mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893 - 895
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number2
Early online date9 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Incidental findings
  • Teaching
  • Education
  • Clincal skills
  • Medicine


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