There are a lot of challenges which our health care education faces globally. A lot of health education professionals only have access to the education theoretically but they don’t have those opportunities which their seniors had access to traditionally – resulting in a lack of training of health professionals. During their education period, they don’t have enough access to patients which results in their lack of clinical practice.
And while all of these challenges are crucial, many countries which have low or middle income need more and more health professionals who are trained in their areas and who can cater to more and more patients. For this very reason, the community of medical education keeps searching for methods via which they can improve the challenges which a health professional has to face during their education in Virtual patient simulation.
For this very purpose, medical health education has started introducing digital education. Through this approach and technology, the medical education community has introduced a new simulation modality. This simulation modality is called virtual patient simulation.
virtual patients simulations are an alternative for real patients. It works well in such settings where the health professionals don’t have access to real patients or even if they have then they don’t get enough time to work with the real patients during their education.
For this, the learner of medicine gets to have a role-play where he gets access to virtual patients. This allows the learner to make different decisions and diagnoses of the patient as per the given clinical information.
This sort of setting or space allows the learner to get well-acquainted with the standard clinical conditions and makes them prepared well ahead of time.
Objectives of Virtual Patients Simulation Modality
The objective of virtual patients’ modality is to check the impact of such a technology on the learning of the learners as well as how much it enhances their knowledge and skills.
The objective is to also check the difference between virtual patient simulation modality versus traditional education where real patients have to be contacted with. It also aims of knowing how the blended learning of virtual patients would outdo traditional education.
The last objective of such technologies is to analyze the differences between virtual patient learning and other sorts of digital education. The other sort of digital learning may include recordings or non-physical classrooms.
Methods Used for Virtual Patients
Eligibility for Getting Access to Such Modalities
In order to get access to virtual patients, it is essential that the person looking forward to such learning is enrolled in any medical-related professional degree.
Searching for Case Identification
In order to make the virtual patients’ experience as real as possible, the data of cases is taken from different databases which include MEDLINE, ERIC, CINAHL, and others.
The results of such simulation-based studies show that the virtual patients’ method is truly an effective one.
The results declare that the virtual patient interventions work as efficiently as any other traditional education method. The skills also get enhanced comparatively better than in a traditional education setting.
The results for the blended learning of virtual patients vs. traditional education suggest that the former one can work more effectively with the mix of the traditional education than just the simple traditional education one. The skill levels obtained by using this sort of technique bring positive outcomes in a moderate manner. And the results of virtual patients vs. Other types of education suggest that both sorts of education don’t bring any sort of significant outcomes.
Cost and Patient Outcomes
The cost of virtual patient simulation education is comparatively lower than one would think. It’s hardly $1 and so compared to other mannequin-based learnings – the cost of which is around $3 or so.
Moreover, it has come under the observation of many clinicians that students who have gone through such simulation-based learning show more positive results in terms of diagnosis and empathy while dealing with the real-patients in life than those students who have never been through such settings at all.
Studies show that the disadvantages of such learning are just that students who are new to such a set-up may have difficulty in grasping the gist of such a setup and may end up getting distracted more often than not. The distraction can end up hindering the learning of the students consequently.
Most of the studies show that such virtual patient simulation in Pakistan-based learning can greatly improve the skill level of the students and can be equally beneficial just as any other traditional education system is. Virtual patients’-based learning allows the students to have active learning than the passive one. It’s highly beneficial for people who aim of strengthening their clinical reasoning skills.
All in all, it is recommended that health professionals get acquainted with the real scenarios of health as much as they can. And in case, if they don’t end up having such settings then at the very least, they should be exposed to such virtual patients’ based settings.