Impact of a virtual patient pilot program on student pharmacistsÍ learning outcomes

Abstract

Objective: To assess the impact of virtual patient (VP) technology implementation on student pharmacistsÍ medication therapy management (MTM) skills. æMethods: Student pharmacists in their P3 year (N=135) participated in a pilot program involving ten interactive VP cases. Assessments included VP competency achievement and pre/post exam scores mapped to similar class objectives: antibiotics/allergies (AA), heart failure (HF), preventative health (PH), and medication adherence (MA). æA paired t-test compared exam results. A survey was administered at the program completion to evaluate studentsÍ attitudes towards the software and its contribution to learning. æResults: One hundred nineteen students successfully completed eight or more cases and the average number of competencies achieved was 40 out of 55 (73%). æStudentsÍ exam scores significantly improved on three of the four mapped competencies (AA, 40% vs. 57.8%, p<0.001; PH, 89.1% vs. 99%, p<0.001; and MA, 89.6% vs. 99.6%, p<0.001) with non-significant improvements noted on HF (61.1% vs. 70.6%, p=0.06). Eighty and 90% of students thought the pilot improved their chronic disease management skills and was a good summary of the course series, respectively. Commonly reported concerns involved software ñglitchesî. ææImplications: Improvements in studentsÍ MTM skills were observed on three of the four mapped competencies, based on significantly higher exam scores and a high competency achievement rate. æSoftware assessment data will be used to identify learning gaps and make curricular improvements. Overall student perceptions of the VP technology were positive, however, the software requires further technical refinement before it can be fully integrated into the schoolÍs curriculum.