Beyond the Software - What Educators Need to Implement Virtual Patients

James B McGee BS, Lab for Educational Technology. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dmitriy Babichenko, BS, Lab for Educational Technology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Significant advances in the availability of virtual patient (VP) software and cases have occurred over the last few years including ANSI approval of the MedBiq VP standard and creation of a repository of over 350 cases by eViP (www.virtualpatients.eu). However, at the University of Pittsburgh and other schools, implementers of VPs need more than high quality software and cases to initiate a VP program and integrate within an existing curriculum. We interviewed early adopters of VPs and examined 450 cases made by our local authors, vpSim/DecisionSim users, and public cases from other systems. This covered a wide range of VPs including veterinary cases, quality improvement, CME, blended simulations, and more. Areas of need identified were: 1) models for implementation, 2) templates and processes for effective case writing, 3) access to multimedia, 4) LMS integration, 5) reporting of use, completion and scores, and 6) obtaining institutional buy-in. Some solutions underway by our group and others are 1) best practices guides, 2) shareable multimedia repositories, and 3) development of protocols for integration of VPs with popular LMS’s. Most critical is the need for a community of researchers, educators, instructional designers and leaders to share and build a knowledge base of evidence and experience. DISCLOSURE: vpSim is licensed to Decision Simulation LLC; the University of Pittsburgh receives royalties and Dr. McGee is an equity holder and scientific advisor.