Virtual patient care: an interprofessional education approach

The objective of this retrospective qualitative case report was to describe how a case-based, virtual patient interprofessional education (IPE) simulation activity was utilized to achieve physician assistant (PA), physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) student IPE learning outcomes. After the completion of a virtual patient case, 30 PA, 46 PT and 24 OT students were required to develop a comprehensive, written treatment plan and respond to reflective questions. A qualitative analysis of the submitted written assignment was used to determine whether IPE learning objectives were met. Student responses showed three themes that supported the learning objectives of the IPE experience: benefits of collaborative care, role clarification and relevance of the IPE experience for future practice. A case-based, IPE simulation activity for physician assistant and rehabilitation students using a computerized virtual patient software program effectively made it possible to reach the IPE learning objectives, including development of more student awareness of other professions and ways in which collaborative patient care can be provided.

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