At the Faculty of Medicine, virtual and simulated patient cases have been used for a long time for teaching purposes.
Virtual patient cases are a continuation of traditional exercises carried out with the help of patient-actors or smart dummies. However, virtual patients make it possible to organise simulated patient encounters at a much higher frequency and in a much more accessible way. In addition, virtual patient cases can be solved using a personal smart device at home, on the bus or in the lecture room.
The Faculty of Medicine employs the MediOppi virtual patient simulator, which has been developed by University of Helsinki students. Patient simulators give students the chance to apply the skills they have learned and utilise them in the process of clinical deduction.
When using the patient simulator, students seek to arrive at a diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment for the patient relying on the same tools they will use later in employment, that is, by interviewing and examining the patient as well as requesting further investigations, such as laboratory tests and imaging scans or, for example, an electrocardiogram.
The simulator provides automatic feedback that helps students develop their clinical deduction skills. Through the application of gamification techniques, learning takes place by itself, so to speak.
Tomi Ylä-Soininmäki, LM
doctoral researcher, Health Professions Education Research Group, University of Helsinki
founder, MedEdu Oy