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"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."


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

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