Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh): Dr C Radhakanth, professor of psychiatry, Maharajah’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Vizianagaram, has developed virtual patients using computer graphics for teaching medical students about post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar suicidal patient.
Dr Radhakanth has created two characters George – Schizophrenia lost in his own world and Ravi – Mania smiling with elated mood.
The virtual patients have typical characteristics of schizophrenia and mania and can be used as a teaching tool for identification and understanding of the symptoms and behaviour of such patients, reports ToI.
The concept would be useful in training PHC (primary health centre) doctors under national mental health programmes as well as medicos in psychiatry in medical colleges.
The research paper Virtual Patients in Psychiatry: A Study of Mania And Schizophrenia, has been published in the International Organization of Scientific Research (IOSR) Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences.
Virtual patients have been used to teach clinical interviewing skills, bioethics, basic patient communication, history taking and clinical decision-making skills for medical students.
Studies have shown that students are satisfied when virtual patients are integrated into the medical curriculum and show an increase in perceived knowledge and skills.
Virtual patients offer many advantages to medical schools and residency programmes including efficiency, standardization, easy accessibility, interactivity, decreased instructor workload, exposure to rare but critical cases, personalized learning, immediate and personalized instruction and feedback, efficacy, improvement of clinical skills in a non-threatening experimental environment, student autonomy, and links to the medical literature.