AMEE 2009: James B McGee talks about the vpSim virtual patient authoring system

Dr_James_B_McgeeAMEE 2009, Malaga, Spain. During the AMEE 2009 meeting, Dr James B McGee from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, spoke to eViP about the development of the vpSim virtual patient authoring system, and the future of virtual patients in medical education.

Dr James B McGee has led the development of the vpSim virtual patient authoring system. As he explained: “vpSim is our attempt at coming up with what we think is the ultimate virtual patient authoring and playback system.”

“While that sounds a little grand, we did spend a long time analysing what the authors need. They were the primary customers in this design.”

McGee and team spent one year interviewing faculty members who were well versed in writing virtual patient cases, and members who were not so familiar with this new technology.

And although this system is relatively new, they have utilised “agile programming and project management techniques” which involved both educators and students at all stages of the development process.

However, this poses the question, “is what they want what they really need?” ‘Version 1.0’ will be released November 2009, and in response to this key question, McGee and team are expecting further refinements to the system as vpSim evolves.

So what does the future hold for virtual patients? As McGee says: “I’ve been watching the interest in virtual patients grow quite rapidly over the past few years, and I think that the eViP consortium has had a lot to do with that.”

He continued: “Also, technology in general has become easier to use, and more accessible. However, there is still a long way to go before virtual patients are accepted for everyday teaching purposes.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr. James B McGee here

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