July 07, 2009

Virtual Patients

Writing about web page http://www.virtualpatients.eu/

I've been enjoying working with a number of different software packages for virtual patients over the past few

Labrynth is one of a number of educational developments to improve education based on simulated clincal cases

weeks including Labyrinth, vpSim and a number of offerings from a number of organisations.

What I can say is the beauty and speed of whats been evolving really does put these developments into really new areas of research.

The real point is that its not clear exactly how to educate undergraduates, doctors or patients using these forms of software, but  research is now being dedicated towards this area including a European Body eViP, which held the first International Conference dedicated to Virtual patients earlier last month (June 09) in in Krakow.

Numerous e-learning developments are blogged daily by practitioners interested in the Web2.0, and virtual patients really offers the opportunity to practising physicians and educationalists to work together, each generating significant content.


Im looking forward to developing some elearning content here at Warwick for undergraduates. But how is this actually done? A diagram below (created using vpSim from the University of Pittsburgh) will help to explain things. Depending on which system is in use, a series of interconnecting pathways with options for questions/ interventions and branches along with multimedia gives students the opportunity to work their way through different clinical cases.

An example of the pathway followed when creating a vritual patient case


Each of the nodes contains detailed clinical information as well as patient resources.

Concerns

Obviously there are a number of concerns that go along with generating such content. material published on the world wide web can be copied and is difficult to withdraw once consent for publication has been given. Fortunately detailed consent forms and information given to patients whose clinical images may be used in such cases helps minimise the impact of such problems.

Opportunities

hopefully the open access nature of the Web 2.0 revolution, the creative commons licence and other initiatives will bring virtual patients to an international audience and overall improve the quality of patient care. Important research questions remain to be asked about how these tools can be used to teach doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other allied health care workers.

For more information on eViP, watch a video, from them, embedded below.



- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Thomas MD

    Sounds like virtual patients may be the cheaper answer to more expensive ve simulation. In the hospital where I work they have recent shelled out several thousand pounds to develop new simulators, whilst older perfectly adequate equipment is mothballed because of a lack of maintenance. Software that can be simply developed seems to be a much more pragmatic option.

    17 Jul 2009, 17:54


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