Using Electronic Virtual Patients To Develop Skills For Evidence-Based Medicine And Clinical Reasoning

May 10, 2011 3:20 - 5:00pm

Susan Albright, BA, Technology for Learning in the Health Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine
Joseph Rencic, MD, Division of General Internal Medicine,Tufts University School of Medicine

The new curriculum of TUSM includes a 2-year sequence entitled "Foundations of Evidence Based Medicine and Clinical Reasoning." This unit integrates courses that previously had been independent, including Epidemiology and Biostatistics, a graduated series of PBL courses, Evidence Based Medicine, and a new course 'Introduction to Clinical Reasoning'. Collaborative groups using virtual patient cases presented using TUSK, Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase, have been key features of PBL for several years. The new course features virtual patient case presentations for the second semester of PBL modified to enable students to practice and develop some of the skills required for evidence based medicine. PICO-formulated 'foreground questions' can be created using tools in TUSK. Once created, these PICO questions can be routed from students to research librarians for evaluation. The PBL virtual patient cases use global navigation. The second year Clinical Reasoning virtual patients are presented via linear navigation to serve as the basis for learning concepts of clinical reasoning. Second year students in collaborative groups of 3 - 4 students working together on cases "out of class" review the cases and submit illness scripts and descriptor tables during the case. Subsequently, 4 - 5 groups join together with a physician facilitator to form a larger collaborative group for case-based learning. We will report on the use of the TUSK Case Simulator to present electronic virtual patients, by linear or global navigation, in collaborative groups for problem based learning and case based learning of skills essential for evidence based medicine and clinical reasoning/decision-making.