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3D Virtual Patients

3D virtual patients are being created via a collaboration between NHS Education for Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art's School of Simulation and Visualisation.

Digital tools present great opportunities to health education.  In this project students will be able to access and use three virtual patient scenarios to develop capability to tackle health inequalities.

Virtual patient scenarios

Specifically the scenarios will provide:

  1. Information on the general health and well being challenges and risks faced by people living in deprived areas.
  2. A specific example of health inequality in the form of additional barriers which have to be overcome by certain people to access care.
  3. A specific example of health inequality (in child protection) where prejudice and a lack of understanding can lead to consequences.

Feedback (highlighting consequence) in all circumstances will be provided directly from the virtual patient.

An accurate and realistic setting/scenario will improve teaching and transferability of student learning into everyday healthcare.

Louise at the reception

Access, delivery (eLearning) & transferability

These virtual patient healthcare scenarios will have significant benefits to training as they will be:

  • Zero risk to patients
  • Person-centred focus
  • Challenging students to explore various in complex inequality scenarios
  • Based on authentic 3D situations
  • Able to provide virtual patient interaction / feedback in real time
  • Easily accessible to NHS Healthcare groups including remote and rural areas
  • Created to support the multiple use (and re-use) of the resources

Avatar creation

This project will use photo-realistic avatars playing the role of patients who are subject to health inequalities.  To date a pregnant mother & child avatar have been created from photographs from actors.  Advanced programming, modelling and motion capture techniques have been used to create and animate the avatars.

The virtual patient avatars are Louise Cullen, her son Jack and her partner.

Jack avatarLouise avatar (side view)

Colleagues from the University of Glasgow and University of Dundee Public Health Departments have been assisting in the development of this project.

Virtual dental surgery

The digital technology used in the virtual patient project can be adapted readily and efficiently to suit multiple purposes.

NES Pharmacy are developing resources in parallel with this project.

Virtual Pharmacy

A completed Impact Assessment has been carried out on the Virtual Patient project. NES carries out such Impact Assessments on educational resources and opportunities to ensure equal access and diversity is promoted wherever possible.

For more information on this project please contact:

This project is being developed in partnership with the School of Simulation and Visualisation at Glasgow School of Art.

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