Demonstration of a graphic organizer driven help system to assist learners while solving virtual patients

April 8, 2013 3:50 - 5:20pm

Andrzej  Kononowicz, MD1,  Franziska Hasch1,  Inga Hege2, Nabil Zary, PhD1
1Karolinska Institute, 2Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet Muenchen

High quality and efficient medical care often requires from healthcare providers to respect clearly defined guidelines. Using various forms of graphic organizers such as flow diagrams can facilitate their learning. Even though the recommended way of solving many virtual patients (VP) is based on strictly defined algorithms, the integration of flow diagrams into the VP is often cumbersome. The solution so far was to generate a set of static images and to attach them in various places of the VP. A more flexible solution is to store the algorithm in a formal way similar as computerized guidelines are represented in clinical decision support systems and to generate the images on demand of the user. Learners would clearly benefit from having a function showing their advances is the algorithm based on their previous activities. This solution would also support the VP authors by enabling a fast update of the algorithm. A close collaboration between the authors of the VP system CASUS and the open source editor Bit Pathways demonstrates how such a feature may be implemented. For a pilot study a large, multi-level graphic organizer on the interpretation of ECGs was selected. The VP presenting the application of the guideline in clinical environment has activity nodes linked to steps in the algorithm and enables by that the learners to check their current position in the graphic organizer. Other potential fields of application include VPs in emergency medicine.