Virtual Patients are an interactive and engaging way to deliver a training topic to a large number of students or professionals, ensuring that each person has the opportunity to have the same learning experience. Our digital development team work closely with academics to ensure the cases are medically accurate and meet learning expectations. Each Virtual Patient scenario is developed based on a patient profile, history and a set of learning objectives. These determine whether multiple choice questions, free-text typing or somewhere in between is the most appropriate method of interacting with the patient.
Multiple choice scenarios are most well suited to structured consultations where the user may be unfamiliar with the source material, or the flow of conversation is important. Free text allows users more freedom to approach the conversation as they see fit, but usually requires a good level of knowledge of the type of interaction being engaged in. In both cases, changes in guidance or other factors relevant to the scenario can be updated quickly to ensure the cases remain relevant.
Virtual Patients have been in use on the Pharmacy UG course at Keele since 2008, supplementing simulated patients to help students practice vital communication skills, diagnosis and make treatment recommendations in safe environment. Virtual patients can deliver feedback appropriate to the learning objectives and based on the user’s specific choices. Forearmed with this knowledge, users can make further attempts at a scenario to explore new interactions and paths to an ideal consultation.