Feasibility of an automated interview grounded in multiple mini interview (MMI) methodology for selection into the health professions: an international multimethod evaluation

Alison Callwood, Lee Gillam, Angelos Christidis, Jia Doulton, Jenny Harris, Marianne Piano, Angela Kubacki, Paul A. Tiffin, Karen Roberts, Drew Tarmey, Doris Dalton, Virginia L. Valentin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


ObjectivesGlobal, COVID-driven restrictions around face-to-face interviews for healthcare student selection have forced admission staff to rapidly adopt adapted online systems before supporting evidence is available. We have developed, what we believe is, the first automated interview grounded in multiple mini-interview (MMI) methodology. This study aimed to explore test-retest reliability, acceptability and usability of the system.Design, setting and participantsMultimethod feasibility study in Physician Associate programmes from two UK and one US university during 2019-2020.Primary, secondary outcomesFeasibility measures (test-retest reliability, acceptability and usability) were assessed using intraclass correlation (ICC), descriptive statistics, thematic and content analysis.MethodsVolunteers took (T1), then repeated (T2), the automated MMI, with a 7-day interval (±2) then completed an evaluation questionnaire. Admission staff participated in focus group discussions.ResultsSixty-two students and seven admission staff participated; 34 students and 4 staff from UK and 28 students and 3 staff from US universities. Good-excellent test-retest reliability was observed at two sites (US and UK2) with T1 and T2 ICC between 0.65 and 0.81 (p<0.001) when assessed by individual total scores (range 80.6-119), station total scores 0.6-0.91, p<0.005 and individual site (≥0.79 p<0.001). Mean test re-test ICC across all three sites was 0.82 p<0.001 (95% CI 0.7 to 0.9). Admission staff reported potential to reduce resource costs and bias through a more objective screening tool for preselection or to replace some MMI stations in a ‘hybrid model’. Maintaining human interaction through ‘touch points’ was considered essential. Users positively evaluated the system, stating it was intuitive with an accessible interface. Concepts chosen for dynamic probing needed to be appropriately tailored.ConclusionThese preliminary findings suggest that the system is reliable, generating consistent scores for candidates and is acceptable to end users provided human touchpoints are maintained. Thus, there is evidence for the potential of such an automated system to augment healthcare student selection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050394
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 9 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • medical education & training
  • quality in health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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