Use and evaluation of “virtual” patients for assessment of clinical pharmacy undergraduates

J. L. Marriott


As an assessment task, third and fourth year undergraduate pharmacy students choose their own individual “virtual” patient using a purpose-designed computer program and respond to a clinical scenario that is randomly allocated to their individual patient according to defined limits. This then forms authentic teacher and peer-assessed, case-based assignments designed to evaluate clinical skills in undergraduate pharmacy students. Large numbers of students can be managed efficiently using the virtual patient program. The assignment has been completed by up to 360 students per year. The development of an authentic assessment tool has proven useful for the assessment of large numbers of undergraduate pharmacy students and is educationally sound. Students also interacted well with the program and felt it contributed to their learning. An evaluation questionnaire was completed by 212 students who reported that the assignment was relevant to the subject and the assessment improved their learning.


Pharmacy, assessment, case-based assessment, virtual patients

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