Author(s): Poulton T, Balasubramaniam C
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Abstract 2010 was a vintage year for virtual patients (VPs) with an almost continuous sequence of publications and presentations at the major conferences. Notable examples include AMEE and its subsidiary e-Learning Symposium, the 2nd International Conference on VPs, and a large number of keynote presentations in national and international e-Learning and educational conferences. The increase in international collaboration, coupled to a reduction in VP creation costs and simpler creation tools, has all contributed to this sharp increase in interest. VPs have finally become embedded in the curriculum: in problem-based learning; as core components of lectures, tutorials and seminars; as assessment tools. The medical education community can increasingly turn its attention to the ways in which VPs can be used with the greatest efficiency and pedagogic value. Meanwhile, where will technology next take the VP? It is now possible to consider the extension of the current, relatively lightweight, VP into a truly interactive patient simulation, moving towards the concept of an 'e-human' or 'digital avatar'. At that stage, the simulation may take on new capabilities, offering authentic patient management, clinical and communication skills training, and the potential capability to mimic the health or disease of any citizen.
This article was published in Med Teach
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care