Training Against Medical Error (TAME) using Virtual Patients

June 5, 2017 10:40 AM – 11:30 AM

Trupti Jivram, St George's University of London
Terry Poulton, St George's University of London
Jonathan Round, St George's University of London
Ella Poulton, St George's University of London
Luke Woodham, St George's University of London 

Medical error is an increasingly significant cause of harm to patients, but errors resulting from cognitive mistakes can be addressed through improved education. The TAME (Training Against Medical Error) project aims to train medical students to avoid preventable adverse events caused by errors in practice.

Previous EC projects (ePBLnet and CROESUS) have successfully shown the benefits of using decision-based Virtual Patients (VPs) in PBL settings, broadening student understanding of clinical management at early stages in the medical curriculum. The TAME VPs harness this by allowing students in a small group setting to discuss clinical management options at key trigger points in the patient scenario. The case design carefully guides learners to make key errors, providing in-depth feedback to turn this into a learning opportunity.

Institutions in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Vietnam have taken Paediatric cases provided by St George’s, University of London, repurposed these to their local healthcare settings, and trialled these VP with local students. The impact of the error VP cases on student performance has yet to be determined, although the impact of modernising medical education using these methods has been successfully proven in past projects. The next step is for each institution to create new cases focusing on medical error in a specific subject area of their own choice.

Allowing students to make mistakes early on in their career using VPs can provide opportunities to see the real-life consequences of those errors, therefore reducing the incidence of error in real practice.