Look to the future: virtual patients & e-learning in medical education


The 2nd International Conference on Virtual Patients & MedBiquitous Annual Conference is set to take place on April 26th to 28th in London, UK.

This exciting event gives teachers, learning technologists and students the chance to learn about teaching tools like virtual patients and simulations, and how we can use Web 2.0 tools effectively when teaching medical and healthcare students. A variety of session formats maximize learning while offering exposure to new ideas and active discussion.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the UK National Health Service (NHS) will give the key note address on supporting and innovating healthcare quality and safety.

Why virtual patients?

Reduced student-patient contact times in hospitals and increasing cost of technology means we need to create innovative methods that help students develop the necessary skills without compromising their quality of education.

e-Learning tools like virtual patients allow us to help students develop their clinical reasoning skills, without putting the patient at risk!

As Terry Poulton, Director of the e-Learning Unit at St George’s University of London says: “Some day virtual patients will do the same for medicine as flight simulations have done for aviation.”

Technical standards in medical education

Virtual patients and e-learning resources can be powerful tools for healthcare educators, but too often such resources are trapped in proprietary systems and unable to be shared with other educators.

That’s where standards come in. Technology standards allow resources to be shared across systems, allowing educators to leverage one another’s work. Technology standards are also key in finding the right content when and where you need it.

“Without standards, a cool e-learning resource at one institution is just a cool e-learning resource at one institution,” commented Valerie Smothers, Deputy Director of MedBiquitous. “Standards make it possible to scale that solution across the larger community of healthcare educators.”

Early bird registration is now available. Please visit www.medbiq.org/icvp for the full agenda and further information.


Information for editors

The 2nd International Conference on Virtual Patients & MedBiquitous Annual Conference is co-hosted by eViP (electronic Virtual Patients), G4, The Higher Education Academy, mEducator and St George’s University of London.

About eViP

The vision of the eViP Programme  (www.virtualpatients.eu) is to create a shared online bank of 320 virtual patients (VPs), adapted for multicultural and multilingual use, for the improved quality and efficiency of medical and healthcare education across the EU.

The objectives of the eViP Programme are to:

  • Collate VPs from partners’ existing collections and select cases for repurposing to local educational needs.
  • Promote the inter-professional sharing of VPs between different healthcare disciplines such as medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and dentistry.
  • Implement common technical standards for all VPs in collaboration with MedBiquitous.
  • Restructure content to standards-compliant structure, metadata including the culture and language metadata of the partners (English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Romanian) and content packaging; all to enable “multi-lingual access”.
  • Further enrich the content of the repurposed VPs with the addition of supporting resources e.g. supporting basic and clinical science resources, clinical skills videos, owned by the partner or in the public domain, or available under an appropriate Creative Commons License.
  • Share enriched VPs with the wider EU community through an online referatory.
  • Evaluate how the repurposed and content-enriched VPs meet the individual needs of the project partners and the wider community.
  • Share templates and tools within the EU community for the easy creation of new VPs
  • Disseminate best practice guidelines for creating and sharing VPs and evaluation instruments for VPs and for learning & teaching activities using VPs
  • Embed a sustainable model for the storage and retrieval of VPs beyond the lifetime of the 3-year Programme

About The MedBiquitous Consortium

Founded by Johns Hopkins Medicine and leading professional medical societies, the MedBiquitous Consortium is creating a technology blueprint for healthcare education. Based on XML and Web services standards, this blueprint will seamlessly supports the healthcare learner in ways that will improve patient care and simplify the administrative work associated with education and competence assessment. MedBiquitous also provides a neutral forum for educators and industry alike to exchange ideas about innovative uses of Web technologies for healthcare education and communities of practice. It is the mission of MedBiquitous to advance healthcare education through technology standards that promote professional competence, collaboration, and better patient care. For more information on MedBiquitous, please visit http://www.medbiq.org.

Contact information

For general information contact Jody Poet: jpoet@medbiq.org
For sponsorship enquiries contact Valerie Smothers: vsmothers@medbiq.org

For general information contact Chara Balasubramaniam: cbalasub@sgul.ac.uk