gms | German Medical Science

Research in Medical Education – Chances and Challenges International Conference

20.05. - 22.05.2009, Heidelberg

The use of virtual patients to prepare for skills lab training: results of a pilot project

Meeting Abstract

Research in Medical Education - Chances and Challenges 2009. Heidelberg, 20.-22.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09rmeF7

doi: 10.3205/09rme36, urn:nbn:de:0183-09rme361

Veröffentlicht: 5. Mai 2009

© 2009 Lehmann et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Introduction: The education of medical students is undergoing a change in Germany, brought about by the revision of the German physician licensing regulations in 2002. The focus is now on small group education and practical skills training. These demands bring challenges to medical educators, such as the need for numerous tutors to facilitate skills lab training. In order to most efficiently utilize the valuable skills lab training time, students must be cognitively prepared before going in. Virtual patients as interactive case simulations seem to provide ideal preparation for that.

Methods: In March 2009, the Children’s University Hospital of Heidelberg, Germany, will be introducing virtual patients as mandatory preparation for skills lab training. Labs cover typical pediatric procedural skills, such as suprapubic bladder puncture, spinal tab, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation of newborns, infants and toddlers. The virtual patients are designed with the CAMPUS shell ( Each scenario presents a short case in which students are interactively confronted with the procedure and media enhanced clarification of the practical skills. The case scenarios are designed to be under 15 minutes and utilized the day before the skills lab training. Students’ and tutors’ opinions will be surveyed, and the design and curricular integration of virtual patients will be evaluated using instruments developed within the electronic virtual patients (evip) project (

Results: Results of the pilot studies in March and April 2009 will be presented, including student and tutor perceptions of the design and the curricular integration.

Conclusions: We are currently preparing a pilot study using virtual patients as preparation for skills lab training. The pilot studies will be carried out in March and April 2009 and the results be presented.