Virtual Patient, Courtesty St. George's University of London
Virtual patients are interactive computer programs that simulate real life clinical scenarios. They provide an effective way for healthcare professionals to not only learn about a wide range of clinical topics, but to practice in a virtual and therefore safe environment. Learners may interact with the virtual patient independently, in groups, or under the guidance of an instructor. These interpersonal interactions may be face to face or computer based (using a virtual classroom tool, for example).
Virtual patients are notoriously difficult and costly to author, adapt and exchange. Historically this has limited their uptake and utility, despite their being able to provide high quality learning opportunities. The MedBiquitous Virtual Patient standard enables the exchange of Virtual Patients across systems and has the potential to scale their development and implementation across health professions education, including resource limited settings. In fact, The European-Commission funded eViP program leveraged the Virtual Patient standard in its development of a shared bank of 340 virtual patients for use across Europe.