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TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE LEARNING VIRTUALLY New Standard for Virtual Patients Allows Global Collaboration and Curriculum Transformation

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, April 6, 2010. Healthcare educators are working to transform healthcare curricula to adapt to reduced patient contact time and teaching resources while improving patient safety. A new American National Standard from MedBiquitous will enable them do just that while collaborating with international colleagues in the process.

MedBiquitous Virtual Patient , ANSI /MEDBIQ VP.10.1-2010, is a technical standard that enables the development of global banks of virtual patient cases. Virtual Patients are interactive computer programs that simulate real life clinical scenarios and provide an effective way for healthcare professionals to not only learn but to practice and assess their clinical skills. Because learning and assessment takes place in a virtual environment, real patients are not put at risk. The standard provides a common format for exchanging virtual patient data as well as a functional specification for conformant virtual patient player applications. Using the standard, institutions can exchange virtual patient cases or distribute them for broader use.

“Virtual Patients will transform the way we teach medical and health professions students and practicing clinicians,” said Peter Greene, M.D., Executive Director of MedBiquitous and Chief Medical Information Officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “The MedBiquitous Virtual Patient standard will let educators work with one another to leverage virtual patients across the curriculum.”

The standard has already been put to good use by eViP, a collaboration of 9 institutions co-funded by the European Commission to create a bank of 320 repurposed and enriched virtual patients. “The standard helps partners to not only share their virtual patients with each other, but also with institutions around the world,” said Terry Poulton, Programme Director and Associate Dean for E-learning at St. George’s, University of London. “Adapting existing content is easier than starting from scratch, and it allows us to put virtual patients at the center of the curriculum.”

“Virtual patient development can be both daunting and expensive,” said Rachel Ellaway. Ph.D., co-chair of the MedBiquitous Virtual Patient Working Group and Assistant Dean of Informatics at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. “Sharing virtual patients globally allows us to significantly lower the investment required while providing access to educational activities from some of the top educators in the world.”

“Virtual patients are an ideal tool for teaching clinical reasoning,” said JB McGee, fellow co-chair of the MedBiquitous Virtual Patient Working Group, Associate Professor of Medicine, and Assistant Dean for Medical Education Technology. “They allow us to track learner decisions and provide adaptive feedback whenever it’s needed.”

The standard will be a key part of the discussion at the upcoming 2nd International Conference on Virtual Patients and MedBiquitous Annual Conference, April 26-28 in London, UK.

The standard can be downloaded from the MedBiquitous website, http://www.medbiq.org.

About The MedBiquitous Consortium

Founded by Johns Hopkins Medicine and leading professional medical societies, the MedBiquitous Consortium is creating a technology blueprint for healthcare education. Based on XML and Web services standards, this blueprint will seamlessly supports the healthcare learner in ways that will improve patient care and simplify the administrative work associated with education and competence assessment. MedBiquitous also provides a neutral forum for educators and industry alike to exchange ideas about innovative uses of Web technologies for healthcare education and communities of practice. It is the mission of MedBiquitous to advance healthcare education through technology standards that promote professional competence, collaboration, and better patient care. For more information on MedBiquitous, please visit http://www.medbiq.org.