The Virtual Integrated Patient Platform
Medical students, early career medical graduates and general practitioners have diminishing access to patients due to various reasons such as patients’ reluctance to be used as subjects, rarity of certain diseases, unpredictable patient admission to hospitals affiliated to medical schools, mismatch of the language of communication between the doctor/student and patients etc. Developed by a team at the National University of Singapore led by Emeritus Prof Edmund Lee, the Virtual Integrated Patient (VIP) aims to bridge this gap in medical education, by generating realistic and dynamic virtual patients for medical education, training and practice. Through this platform, we hope to encourage students towards a more naturalistic 'symptom-to-diagnosis' approach in their clinical engagement with patients.
The patients generated are realistic because they come with comprehensive case details, such as gender, age, ethnicities, presenting symptoms, family history, social and medical history, drug history, travel history and genetics. VIP is a dynamic portal because, the practicing student or clinician will also never encounter the same patient again as the patients are randomly generated. This gives VIP a better competitive edge over the competitors who have fixed cases that are less/non- interactive.
The interaction utilizes state-of-the-art, natural language processing based free-text analyses within a chat-bot based platform for a realistic conversational experience. VIP allows the medical student/personnel to engage with the virtual patient in different phases of clinical practice like interview, examination, diagnosis and treatment in a very realistic and independent fashion, at the comforts of their place and time, and will significantly improve the clinical reasoning, communication, diagnostic and clinical competency skills leading to better quality and cost-effective healthcare.
Our technology is highly scalable to accommodate a large variety of symptoms and corresponding diseases, build sequelae to have patient follow ups, and to add customized features for customer needs. It will be an excellent supplement to existing tools in medical education. Preliminary usability studies have generated highly positive reviews. The VIP portal is currently undergoing beta testing and will be used initially by the medical students and tutors of National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine for instructions on medical history taking.
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VIP is currently covered by an Invention Disclosure lodged at the NUS. Information about the inventors are found here.