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April 6, 2005

Virtual Patient Panel

Listining to a panel of speakers talking about their work with patient simulation at MedBiquitous 2005. The panel is led by Chris Candler of AAMC.

Virtual patients is about helping the learner interact with patients by training with onnline. AAMC is interested in promoting the sharing of virtual patient cases.

Grace Huang, Harvard Medical School
Hemal Thakore, University College Dublin
David Davies, IVIMEDS
Marc Triola, New York University
James B. McGee, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Rachel Ellaway, University of Edinburch

To begin with, there is disagreement on how people define a virtual patient. The panel proposed that it's a a set of human characteristics in data rendered in an application. Could be a medical record, a mathematical model for prescriptions or an actual clinical encounter. Medical students are getting less time with actual patients, so the hope is to give students encounters with more patients with certain characteristics or medical conditions.

The difference between the case and patient? A case will have one or more patients, a patient doesn't always have a case. It might be a medical record where there is no case interaction.

Rationale for using virtual patients? Instead of presenting the content, you present the problem and get a lot more validity and retention. The LCME (medical accredation) demands documentation of exposure to a certain number of clinical cases. In cases where medical training is for war, there's no way for a medical student to get hands-on training so virtual experiences is important for them before they are sent into a conflict.

(numerous other examples, too fast to type)

AAMC is trying to gather information from all US, and eventually internationally. The MedEdPortal is the gathering place for this information.

Now we turn to the technical details of sharing virtual patient information. James McGee is talking about the XML Schema they've developed at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for representing virtual patient information.

Hey, that's TUSK on the screen (the project I work on at Tufts University). James is talking about how the data from the Pitt database could be exported in a valid XML format and used in TUSK's case tool.

David Davies is giving a demo of the virtual patient tool from IVIMEDS. The virtual patient can be exported in IMS Content Packaging format or in SCORM. The IVIMEDS system is written in Java on MS Access (seems like an odd choice). The authoring tool is Access forms.

This is cool, the virtual patient allows you to define localized terms and have them specialized when rendered.

Last person on the panel to talk is Marc Triola who's showing SIMM (Surgery Interactive Multimedia Modules) from NYU. SIMM is web-based, built on Apache/Linux backed with MySQL. They have a team of 3-D sumilators. SIMM is defined with an XML format, designed for structure not for function.

Posted by mike at April 6, 2005 11:10 AM