Search Close Search
Page Menu

"Seinfeld" Introduces Standardized Patient to the World's Masses

USA, Mar 19th, 1998 - Often credited for introducing the concept of standardized patients to the public, popular TV show "Seinfeld" saw Kramer (Michael Richards) taking on a standardized patient assignment and portraying as a patient with gonorrhea for medical students at Mount Sinai Hospital to practice their patient interviewing skill.

Excerpt from an article in The New Yorker by David Owen:

"S.P. work figures in a 1998 “Seinfeld” episode, “The Burning,” in which Kramer, with help from a cigarette and a maroon smoking jacket, dramatically describes the romantic entanglement that resulted in what the medical students examining him are eventually able to identify as gonorrhea. Kramer’s performance is funny but unrealistic: standardized patients are standardized. Their characters are based on tightly circumscribed biographies, which are developed in collaboration with medical-school faculty."

The show delivers its signature comedy in a light-hearted manner that is memorable to many health care professionals. In real world healthcare education settings, the work of a standardized patient carries a lot of responsibilities as it needs to accurately deliver education objectives that a faculty has set for their learners. Did you know that SPs are observed on their job for how standardized one SP is to another, on their affect, pace, content accuracy, scoring method, and feedback approach?   


David Owen. Standardized Patients and the Art of Medical Maladies. The New Yorker, Jan 1st, 2018. Accessible online at

Seinfeld Episode information


Last updated May 11th, 2021
You might also be interested in: