Who uses Virtual Patients?
In 2008, eViP ran a survey to find out who uses virtual patients, and how. We also wanted to know which medical learning institutions are ready to adopt a repository of virtual patients produced by eViP.
Over 200 people responded to the survey, which was released online via SurveyMonkey.com, and the results were presented at the first International Conference on Virtual Patients (ICVP) 2009 in Krakow, Poland.
Approximately half, 55%, of the respondents currently include virtual patients in their medical curriculum, whilst the remaining 45% do not, therefore their answers were based on perceptions of the benefits of virtual patients.
Of those who currently use virtual patients, however, we gained a valuable insight into how they are used in their medical curricula.
The main educational scenarios were independent learning (58.9%) and problem-based learning (45.3%).
However, as you can see from the summary (right), virtual patients are used in a wide variety of clinical situations.
Undergraduate students are the largest group who use virtual patients, with post graduate and those in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) being less represented (left).
We intent to explore the reasons for this split between undergraduate and postgraduate/CPD use in future eViP surveys.
Virtual Patient development
Interestingly, we discovered that the overwhelming majority of respondents, 67%, created their own virtual patients.
The remaining respondents either shared their virtual patients with other institutions (33%) or purchased them commercially (23.5%).
To pay, or not to pay?
We’ve already seen that 23.5% of the respondents purchase their virtual patients from commercial organisations.
However, when we asked respondents whether virtual patients should be free, we found that 44.5% felt they should be free, 33.5 favoured a fee based on the number of students, and 21.9% were prepared to pay for their virtual patients.
How does eViP fit in?
- eViP Virtual Patients all adhere to the MedBiquitous Virtual Patient Standard.
- eViP encourages the sharing of repurposed and enriched virtual patients within the medical community.
- eViP and MedBiquitous facilitate the import and export of virtual patients between different systems.
- The aim of eViP is to create a repository of 320 repurposed and enriched virtual patients that are freely available under the Creative Commons Licence.
- 93.5% of respondents are willing to use virtual patients developed by eViP!
Listen to Dr David Davies from the University of Warwick Medical School, UK, outline the key findings: