Decision Simulation LLC, the leading provider of web-based virtual patient platforms that enhance clinical decision-making skills, today announced it has extended its licensing agreement with the University of Pittsburgh. This extended license allows Decision Simulation’s virtual patient platform, DecisionSim™, to include the new capabilities of vpSim™ developed at the Laboratory for Educational Technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Decision Simulation originally licensed vpSim, the technology on which DecisionSim is based, from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010.

“At the University of Pittsburgh, we continuously strive to improve educational tools and techniques to help current and upcoming healthcare professionals provide the most effective patient care, thereby improving patient outcomes,” said James B. McGee, M.D., assistant dean for medical education technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, creator of vpSim™ and the chair of the scientific advisory board at Decision Simulation. “Decision Simulation gives us the unique opportunity to share our virtual patient learning platform with the entire healthcare industry from academic settings to professional societies and health systems.”

DecisionSim is a standards-based virtual patient platform leveraging a branched narrative approach that is specifically designed to develop higher level decision-making and reasoning skills among healthcare professionals. This is accomplished through the creation of virtual patient cases, which include numerous decision points pertinent to each patient’s care. Learners receive immediate feedback on the impact of their decisions. The vpSim platform leverages the same approach.

Based on feedback from current users, the updated platform provides a more intuitive user interface for case authors and will enable authors to:

  • Provide learners with more in-depth adaptive feedback based on their decisions through advanced rules options triggered by specific choices within each step in the case.
  • Allow learners to enter text responses to describe the rationale for certain decisions, share feedback on the case or communicate as needed with the case author.
  • Assign specific cases and due dates to targeted learners, similar to homework assignments. Learners receive automatic reminders of these dates, while authors gain access to status reports on the individual’s progress.
While the majority of the updates are focused on case authors, learners also benefit from an upgraded interface and the ability to leave a case before it is complete and return back to that spot upon re-accessing the case.

“Licensing the virtual patient platform from the University of Pittsburgh enables nurses, medical students, healthcare professionals and others to further develop and sharpen their clinical decision-making skills,” said Bob Yayac, managing partner of Decision Simulation. “With these new capabilities, authors can develop cases faster and personalize them for specific students. Through the new text response options, authors can gain greater insight into the learner’s reasoning as they work through the cases.”

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