In 2005, several of the major European e-learning centres in medicine and healthcare formed a working group for the development of a pan-European collection of Virtual Patients (VPs). Together with MedBiquitous, the leading developer of healthcare standards, this group began to define a standard for the interoperable use of VPs across Europe.
From 2005 onwards, it was agreed that the partners of this working group would try and secure funding from a reputable organisation in order to assist their proposed collaboration. The partners proposed that their large collection of existing VPs be pooled, adapted to a common technical standard, and repurposed and content-enriched for multicultural, multilingual access.
It was agreed that non-partner institutions would also benefit by eventually being able to repurpose and content-enrich these VPs for their own local and educational needs. It was envisaged that the eventual shared bank of VPs would cover the entire range of specialisms required to support clinical training in medical and healthcare education.
These shared resources could then be used to maximise VP uptake by educators in all countries to underpin and extend current teaching and learning, minimise inefficient practice, reduce costs, and improve the consistency and quality of clinical care and wellbeing of patients throughout the world.
Having missed out narrowly in the first attempt at securing funding with the European Commission in 2005 for the above proposed Electronic Virtual Patients (eViP) programme, it was successfully funded under the eContentplus programme in 2006. The eViP Programme kicked-off officially in the beautiful setting of Trondheim, Norway in September 2007 (see above).