The Virtual Patients Application tool developed by the School of Medicine, Imperial College London, provides a user-friendly interface and the necessary tools to generate virtual patient cases and share them with partner organisations using common learning standards.

A virtual patient is a set of data that describes an individual as a patient. A virtual patient case is divided into different sections:

  • medical history
  • physical examination
  • clinical history
  • differential diagnosis
  • investigations
  • working diagnosis
  • management plan
  • follow-up
  • case summary

The ability to add additional headings, or substitute those not required, is a feature of the application. The application allows the introduction of quizzes at any point throughout the case.


Imperial Virtual Patients International Group

A large number of partners from all round the world, including Japan, UK, Portugal, Italy, Chile, Poland, Turkey, Taiwan, South Korea and Croatia have joined this project. The collaboration involves creating new shareable cases as well as exploring new ways of embedding virtual patient cases in their curriculum, and looking for evidence and effectiveness in enhancing clinical reasoning skills. A large number of cases are already available to all partners. 


Linear and branching virtual patients

The virtual patient cases follow linear and branching approaches. Different variables can be added to branching cases, making the virtual patient scenarios more challenging and engaging, and allowing the learner to receive feedback on different aspects, for example: situation awareness, decision making, and communication skills. 


Educational approaches

Virtual patients can be used in different educational settings, for example:

  • The virtual patient cases support the delivery of traditional learning introducing problem based scenarios focused on clinical or general practice
  • Virtual patients can be embedded in the delivery of clinical teaching. The learner may be acting independently, or under the guidance of a tutor or instructor, or in a collaborative setting with their peers
  • The learner may use a scenario to explore personal/professional aspects of the patient-doctor relationship addressing communication and ethical issues promoting reflective thinking
  • Repositories of scenarios may collectively address broad issues of healthcare which can be incorporated into clinical teaching settings as relevant

Technical specifications

The Virtual Patients Application has been developed following international learning standards. The cases can be distributed as HTML as well as SCORM shareable content objects, making them interoperable with different learning platforms. The Virtual Patient Application runs on Windows 7, XP, and Vista, and is currently compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox.


Partners' area

Please remember you can access the following information from the Moodle repository:

  • training documents
  • authors’ checklist
  • guidelines including Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Copyright framework
  • a wide range of virtual patient cases created by different partners and classified under different categories

We welcome you to explore and learn from the different and exciting virtual patient cases!

You can access the Moodle repository at: www.elearningimperial.com/Moodle

Please email us if you have forgotten your username and password on elearning.medicine@imperial.ac.uk

Moodle Repsoitory