Patrick Kenny, Thomas Parsons, Pat Garrity: “Virtual Patients for Virtual Sick Call Medical Training”

November 28, 2010 | Orlando, FL

Speaker: Patrick Kenny
Host: I/ITSEC 2010

Training military clinicians and physicians to treat Soldiers directly impacts their mental and physical health and may even affect their survival. Developing skills such as: patient interviewing, interpersonal interaction and diagnosis can be difficult and is severely lacking in hands-on-training due to the cost and availability of trained standardized patients. A solution to this problem is in using computer generated virtual patient avatars that exhibit the mental and physiologically accurate symptoms of their particular illness; such physical indicators as sweating, blushing and breathing due to discomfort and matching conversational dialog for the disorder. These avatars are highly interactive with speech recognition, natural language understanding, non-verbal behavior, facial expressions and conversational skills. This paper will discuss the research, technology and the value of developing virtual patients. Previous work will be stated along with issues behind creating virtual characters and scenarios for the joint forces. It will then focus on subject testing that is being conducted with a Navy scenario at the Navy Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) School at the Navy Medical Center in San Diego. The protocol involves pre and post tests with a 15 minute interview of the virtual patient. Analysis of the data will yield results in user interactions with the patient and discuss how the system can be used for training for future deployment of these systems for medical professionals. The Virtual Sick Call Project under the Joint Medical Simulation Technology Integrated Product Team (JMST IPT) seeks to push the state of the art in developing high fidelity virtual patients that will enable the caregiver to improve interpersonal skills for scenarios that require not only medical experience, but the ability to relate at an interpersonal level, with interviewing and diagnosis skills as patients can be hiding symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide and domestic violence