Patient contact with medical and healthcare student is at the heart of clinical competency. However this vital contact is declining in most European member states.
Training is hampered by two important factors: the healthcare budget constraints that increasingly limit clinical teaching, and the reduction in the time that patients stay in hospital.
Electronic virtual patients (VPs) are now recognised by the medical education community as highly effective tools for developing clinical reasoning.
In the video below, clinical educators Dr David Davies (The University of Warwick, UK) and Dr James Bateman (The University of Warwick Medical School, UK) discuss the role of virtual patients.
A virtual patient is defined as “an interactive computer simulation of real-life clinical scenarios for the purpose of medical training, education or assessment.” Virtual patients generally have two components, the patient case, and the educational activities leading to a specific educational goal.
However, VPs are time-consuming and expensive to produce from ’scratch’, and even leading e-learning institutions cannot produce a sufficient number to give full coverage of the medical or healthcare curricula.
eViP aims to resolve this problem by repurposing – effectively ‘adapting’ – existing VPs so they can be used in a variety of cultural, linguistic and educational situations.
We also work alongside Medbiquitous (Europe) in developing the Virtual Patient technical standard for developing VPs. And we aim for the VPs to be available under the Creative Commons License.
Listen to Dr Terry Poulton from St George’s University of London talk about the evolution, and value of Virtual Patients.