Published April 5, 2013
The American Medical Association is providing funding to support the 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, UB associate professor of medicine and physiology, and senior associate dean for medical curriculum, is one of eight 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, UB clinical associate professor of medicine 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 and hyperlipidemia.
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,” he says. “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 adds.
James Madara, chief executive officer/education vice president for the AMA, says the AMA 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.”
i-Human Patients Inc. is a designer and developer of “virtual” medical training products and services.