Real Symptoms, Virtual Patients: Med School Training Goes High-Tech

the MPR take:

Could virtual patients reduce misdiagnosis rates and help the predicted shortage of trained doctors? A new generation of virtual patient simulator computer programs, like the i-Human Patients system currently used by 14 medical schools, are able to present a vast range of patient scenarios to test professionals on diagnosis and treatment options. Actors and mannequins have typically been used to train doctors, but cloud-based systems like i-Human Patients can be used anywhere there is an Internet connection and the data can be sent to instructors for evaluating student performance. Programs like these could also assist severe physician shortages in countries like India by providing an alternative to brick-and-mortar medical schools and boosting educational opportunities for future doctors. In addition, the founders of i-Human believe that the program could cut the current rate of misdiagnosis in the U.S., which averages 12 million cases per year. The more experience doctors can gain – whether on treating human patients or virtual ones – could benefit healthcare greatly in the long run.

Real Symptoms, Virtual Patients: Med School Training Goes High-Tech
Med School Training Goes High-Tech

(CNN) -- Even before the examination begins, it's clear Ann Martinez isn't well. Her breathing is labored. It's possible she has a simple chest cold, but the signs could indicate something more dangerous, even fatal. The simulation is part of i-Human Patients, one of a new generation of computer programs used by medical schools to train students and other professionals.