6 Tips On How To Implement Virtual Patients In Your Clinical Training
After the huge challenges that clinical training institutions had to face in spring, the full reopening of schools is still threatened by the second wave of COVID-19. Schools might apply different strategies on how they ensure the safety of students and educators. Even if in-class teaching continues, the benefits of digital and virtual education must be further exploited.
To provide support for healthcare educators worldwide, our medical education expert team has collected a bunch of best practices about how to use virtual patients in clinical teaching efficiently.
1. Present virtual patients in online seminars
Find the scenarios you want to present and discuss it with your students. Facilitate brainstorming, group discussions, and teamwork.
Ask the participants to formulate their diagnostic thinking and make the next steps together in the diagnostic process.
Skills: teamwork, collaboration, decision-making skills
2. Assign virtual patients and ask further analysis
Create your own course of virtual patients and assign it to your group (e.g. five patients per week).
Ask them to elaborate 1 case in a more detailed way focusing on the differential diagnostic aspects, treatment plans, sources of evidence.
Tip: define 3 days as course length, so your students will have time to prepare the detailed report in the rest of the week. The students do not see the final feedback on their diagnosis until the end of the course.
Skills: presentation skills, use of academic resources, differential diagnostics, analytical skills
3. Involve your students actively in online seminars
Ask students to create a case-presentation of their favorite InSimu case and present it in an online seminar.
Alternatively, facilitate them to ask their case-specific questions.
Skills: presentation skills, technical skills, use of academic resources
4. Elaborating on the structure of the examination reports
Assign it as homework to study the official report structures of diagnostic tests that are relevant for the course (e.g., the structure of an MRI report, necessary information, and details in a test report.).
Skills: technical skills, protocols
5. Incorporate InSimu virtual patients in OSCE
EACH student chooses one patient from the InSimu app. They learn the details and symptoms of the patient.
The student plays the role of their selected patient, while others take the medical history and ask about the results of further testing via an online meeting.
Skills: communication skills, history taking
6. Furher proposals
Give your students an assignment about the following topics based on their experiences with the virtual patients they diagnosed in the InSimu Patient app.
- The importance and aspects of evidence-based diagnosis
- How to make time and cost-efficient diagnosis
- Most frequent medical errors and how to reduce them