Welcome to the School of Medicine Virtual Patients Directory.

What is a Virtual Patient?

Virtual Patients are computer-based simulations of fictitious patients presenting with a complaint. The complaint is analysed by the learner and encourages thinking processes surrounding history taking, examination, diagnosis, treatment and discharge, without the obvious risks associated with a student treating a real patient case. The cases can focus on important common condition but can also be used to cover important conditions that it may be difficult for students to gain experience of, such as domestic abuse.

  • Allows self-directed learning opportunities
  • Narrative/didactic style of delivery for earlier years students
  • Branched/exploratory style of learning for later years where knowledge can be applied
  • Focus is on applying clinical knowledge to diagnostic thinking and management
  • Cognitive realism – that is that the challenge posed to the learner seems real – is more important than visual realism – that is that real photos or video clips are used
  • Communication/social skills for patient dialogue can be exercised Opportunity to familiarise with patient dialogue
  • Continual focus on learning objectives is key for maintaining relevance
  • Regular self-assessment opportunities allows the learner to evaluate their own progress
  • Promotion of clinical reasoning is arguably the most important distinguishing feature of VP delivery and purpose

Read more about the comprehensive literature review conducted at Cardiff University School of Medicine…