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MedU Virtual Patients Publication in Academic Medicine

MedU collaborators, Valerie Lang, MD (SIMPLE Editor-in-Chief), Jennifer Kogan, MD (SIMPLE Editorial Board member), Norm Berman, MD (MedU Co-founder) and Dario Torre, MD, PhD, have their publication about the large experience with virtual patient (VP) programs in internal medicine in Academic Medicine 2013: 88: 11: 1713-1718.  

The Evolving Role of Online Virtual Patients in Internal Medicine Clerkship Education Nationally

Summary: Despite the significant resources required to develop and maintain VP programs, little is known about why this innovation has been adopted and how it is implemented. Understanding needs and implementation strategies is important for effective curriculum planning. This large, multi-institutional study reports national trends in VP adoption and integration.

In 2009 and 2011, surveys were offered to 110 U.S. internal medicine clerkship directors regarding their goals for adoption of Simulated Internal Medicine Patient Learning Experience (SIMPLE) VPs. In 2011, respondents were asked how they implemented VPs in their curricula. Results were analyzed using chi-square and Fisher exact test. Meeting cognitive learning objectives remained an important reason for adopting VPs, whereas meeting regulatory requirements decreased significantly in importance. Opportunities remain for more systematically integrating VPs into clerkship curricula. Clarifying the changing goals may help with this process.