USC Standard Patient

2013 - Present
Project Leaders: Albert "Skip" Rizzo and Thomas "Brett" Talbot

What is USC Standard Patient?

USC Standard Patient, under development, is a free online community where medical students, residents and physicians can improve their interview and diagnostic skills with a Virtual Standardized Patient (VSP).     For the learner, the hospital features a variety of different patients, useful performance assessments and guidance and improvements.   For medical educators, the hospital features USC Standard Patient Studio, an online collaboration and authoring community.

The goals of USC Standard Patient:

  • Create the most functional and natural virtual standardized patients in history
  • Create a critical mass of conversational patients as a free national resource
  • Allow for effective natural language interaction with learners
  • Improve medical interviewing & diagnostic skills
  • Create VSPs that can be authored rapidly by non-computer scientists
  • Vastly improve assessment and performance feedback
  • Free up resources to more effectively utilize human standardized patients

Conversational Virtual Standardized Patients

Our Virtual Standardized Patients (VSPs) are based on SimCoach virtual human technology.  VSPs converse in natural English, understand what you tell them and can express themselves non-verbally through facial expressions and gestures.   The system can create patients with a range of personalities including average, sullen, loquacious, uncertain, reserved and neurotic.

Educational Approach

The assessment system is revolutionary and provides specific, useful feedback to the learner.   The ability to provide the student with a detailed & complete, objective assessment and guide them with specifics on how they can perform better is a major advantage of our approach over human standardized patients.   This emerging capability is unprecedented and has the potential to rapidly mature new clinical interviewers.

Download a PDF overview.
The New Virtual Standardized Patient