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UBC Theses and Dissertations

CyberPatient™ - an innovative approach to medical education Farahmand, Sahar


Background: Variety of tools have been used to teach history-taking skills to novice learners. Standardized Patient (SP) is the gold standard for medical education. We hypothesized that the use of online simulation platforms CyberPatient ™ (CP) is as effective as SP. Methods: In this prospective randomized controlled trial study, the educational effectiveness of CP was compared to SP in improving history taking skills. Twenty-two incoming students at University of British Columbia (UBC) were randomly divided into two (SP and CP) groups. SP Group (n = 11) practiced their history taking skills with standardized patients and CP Group (n = 11) with CyberPatients. The content for both groups included 3 cases of GI pathology and the study time was 60 minutes. Assessment method included Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) before and after interventions. Data were analyzed in a two-way between/within analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Wald test was used to deal with the violation of the ANOVA assumptions. Economic benefits were assessed as Cost-effectiveness (calculated as Cost/Effect Ratio) and Cost-Value Proposition (Cost-Vale Relationship). Results: Each group had significant (SP group p = 0.006 and CP group p = 0.0001) improvement in the knowledge domain of history taking. The history taking knowledge variable in both groups indicated that students did better after interventions with a significant main effect of time, p = 0.011. The groups performed at a similar level after intervention. Moreover, results show that the use of the CP is more cost-effective and has a better cost/value proposition for medical education. Conclusion: We conclude that CyberPatient™ is as effective as using standardized patients in delivery of practical knowledge for novice medical students, however, CyberPatient™ is more economically rewarding.

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