RESEARCH ARTICLE: Measuring the educational benefits of using a virtual patient to practice pharmacist-patient consultations




counselling, education, pharmacist, simulation, virtual patient


Objective: Virtual patients (VPs) are a method of simulating clinical practice however little is known about their use by healthcare professionals. This study explores if, and how, one VP is educationally beneficial for pharmacists and pre-registration trainees to teach non-vitamin K oral anticoagulant (NOAC) patient counselling.

Method: The evaluation used a before and after questionnaire measuring self-perceived counselling ability; further questions considered the outcomes of VP use. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics; ethical approval was granted by Keele University.

Results: There was an average improvement in the user’s (n=94) self-perceived ability to conduct NOAC counselling (+10.2%). Although, there was variation in educational outcomes with changes in both knowledge and confidence reported. Some reported a decreased ability, but they were still positive towards the VP as it may have had a regulatory effect.

Conclusion: Most users perceived multiple benefits of use; more generic outcomes related to counselling skills were also reported.

Author Biographies

Charlotte Lucy Richardson, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical Sciences

Stephen Chapman, Keele University, United Kingdom

School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering

Simon White, Keele University, United Kingdom

School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering


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Research Article