In order to achieve its goal of enabling the sharing of virtual patients (VPs) across medical education centres, the eViP programme faced a number of technical challenges which had to be overcome. To this end, in the early stages of the programme it was determined that a Technical Reference Group (TRG) be established.
The key goals of the TRG were:
- Define an application profile to describe the contents of transport packages for the sharing of VPs amongst partner VP Players (systems that ‘play’ the VP);
- Specify different levels of conformance with the application profile that may be attained, and explicitly define the criteria that must be met to reach each conformance level;
- Co-ordinate the efforts of the partner VP players in developing import and export functionality within each system;
- Formulate a set of best practice guidelines for the exchange and reuse of VP content; and
- Provide assistance for any further technical issues encountered by the eViP project team.
These initial goals have now been achieved, and the TRG will continue to act in an advisory role in the future.
The eViP Application Profile
The eViP Application Profile provides a specification for the partner VP players to use as the basis for the export packages that are produced, and includes details of how to format, structure and package the data that is exported from the systems.
It draws upon a number of complementary standards including the MedBiquotous Virtual Patient atandard for the VP content, the IEEE 1484.12.1-2002 Standard for Learning Object Metadada (LOM) and MedBiquitous MEDBIQLO10.1-2008 Healthcare Learning Object Metadada Specification (Healthcare LOM) for describing metadada of the VP, and the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) for the packaging of the content.
The application profile additionally includes a conformance testing suite, which is a set of software tools for testing the degree to which VP packages conform to the application profile.
Example packages conforming to the Application Profile from each of the partner systems are available for download here.