Mark Jacobs is a 35-year-old double bass player in an orchestra. He has persistent pain and has been referred to a physiotherapy visit for review and development of a treatment plan.
The European University of Madrid (Universidad Europea – UE) has developed in a pioneering way for the company Take The Wind (TTW), creator of Body Interact, the first scenario with a virtual patient that requires a physiotherapy approach.
Body Interact is a Virtual Patient Simulator developed for 18 different therapeutic areas with more than 100,000 users worldwide. Through clinical cases with virtual patients, it allows current and future healthcare professionals to develop their critical thinking and decision-making skills in a safe and interactive environment.
“Experiential learning is the basis of our academic model. Simulation as a learning methodology is integrated into the Bachelor’s Degree of Physiotherapy from the first year”. Thanks to the virtual patients’ scenarios, “students will be able to train in a safe environment very similar to the real world at the same time they are developing the skills they will need as healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Beatriz Martinez, physiotherapist and Academic Director of the UE.
The Body Interact Impact Study conducted in 11 schools (7 Medicine and 5 Nursing curriculums) that apply the platform in their learning processes recently concluded that 88% of students believe that Body Interact increases their confidence in critical reflection and 91% highlight that it reinforces the learning process in the classroom context.
For the UE, Body Interact is an excellent example of how technology can become a great ally in the training of future professionals in various sectors. The European University, which currently has a Simulated Hospital and a mixed reality laboratory where students are trained in simulation environments, has made a significant investment to adapt its facilities to new trends in digitization and thus maintain its commitment to educational quality and innovation.
With the integration of Body Interact in the field of physiotherapy, “students will be able to develop their clinical reasoning through simulated cases according to the expected learning outcomes. Undoubtedly, this type of virtual simulation environment helps students to gain confidence and security to face the real patient,” said the Head of Simulation in the area of Physiotherapy, Professor Ana Ramirez.
The CEO of TTW, Pedro Pinto, mentioned that as a learning accelerator they are “always looking for areas where virtual patients represent an advantage for education”. Thus, challenged by the European University, the company’s mission “to reduce clinical error is also achieved with the help of physiotherapists”.
By practicing the clinical working hypothesis and putting its techniques into practice, professionals believe they are “better prepared for everyday challenges, confident and ready to act,” Pedro Pinto emphasized.
This first case, a pioneer in the field of physiotherapy, has been led by Dr. Pablo César García- Sánchez, educator of the Physiotherapy Degree, PhD in Neurosciences and specialized in Clinical Reasoning, Innovation, and Educational Technology.
“It is urgent that healthcare professions ‘reboot’ themselves across the entire spectrum of education and training, to remain paramount in 21st-century health.” Clinical reasoning and decision-making will be two increasingly important skills when integrating the growing amount of patient data and in which new technologies are involved. On the one hand, virtual simulation helps the student to learn these skills before coming into contact with the patient. And, on the other hand, it provides the educator with information on the degree of development of these transversal competencies, providing metrics that are difficult to collect in any other way. “It is a good tool for completing the student’s pre-clinical training,” says Professor Dr. César García.