BUFFALO, N.Y. – The American Medical Association is
providing funding to support the University at Buffalo School of
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and other institutions in a
national consortium to develop simulated, interactive
“encounters” with virtual patients to supplement the
education of students in the third year of medical school.
The i-Human Patients platform is a cloud-based service for
medical students that simulates a patient visit. Students use the
software to interview and examine animations of patients, order and
review diagnostic tests, develop diagnostic hypotheses and create a
treatment plan. Online guidance and comprehensive feedback occurs
at every step of the process.
Avery Ellis, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and
physiology and senior associate dean for medical curriculum at UB,
is one of 8 faculty members at prestigious institutions throughout
the U.S., who will be working together to develop simulations for
internal medicine. Ellis and Susan J. Gallagher, MD, clinical
associate professor of medicine at UB and director for internal
medicine clerkships in the third and fourth years, will be writing
cases on chest pain, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, and edema, electrolyte abnormalities, syncope, dizziness
The new cases are expected to be completed, peer-reviewed and
included in the curriculum that third-year medical students at UB
experience starting in July, Ellis says.
“These very sophisticated patient simulations will round
out the education of third-year medical students,” says
Ellis. “For our students, working on these patient
simulations, complete with actual test results and realistic
clinical data, such as audible heart sounds, angiograms and
ultrasound studies, is far more beneficial than just reading about
the same disease in a textbook.”
The cases are being prepared by faculty at UB and at the
University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University,
Northwestern University, Tufts University, Rush University and
Stony Brook University.
“These interactive web-based patient encounters will
nicely complement the other kinds of experiences our students are
getting at UB’s Behling Simulation Center,” Ellis
“The American Medical Association is funding the
development of medical school cases and other interactive content
for the i-Human Patients educational services platform because we
see a need to accelerate student training in patient assessment and
diagnostic skills,” says James Madara, chief executive
officer/education vice president for the AMA.
i-Human Patients Inc. is a designer and developer of
“virtual” medical training products and services.