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Use of virtual patients in dental education: a survey of U.S. and Canadian dental schools.

J Dent Educ; 76(10): 1358-64, 2012 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23066135
The use of virtual patients in dental education is gaining acceptance as an adjunctive method to live patient interactions for training dental students. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which virtual patients are being utilized in dental education by conducting a survey that was sent to sixty-seven dental schools in the United States and Canada. A total of thirty dental schools responded to the web-based survey. Sixty-three percent of the responding dental schools use virtual patients for preclinical or clinical exercises. Of this group, 31.3 percent have used virtual patients in their curricula for more than ten years, and approximately one-third of those who do use virtual patients expose their students to more than ten virtual patient experiences over the entirety of their programs. Of the schools that responded, 90.5 percent rated the use of virtual patients in dental education as important or very important. An additional question addressed the utilization of interactive elements for the virtual patient. Use of virtual patients can provide an excellent method for learning and honing patient interviewing skills, medical history taking, recordkeeping, and patient treatment planning. Through the use of virtual patient interactive audio/video elements, the student can experience interaction with his or her virtual patients during a more realistic simulation encounter.