Virtual simulations, also called screen-based simulations or virtual simulation games, are "the recreation of reality depicted on a computer screen" that "injects humans in a central role by exercising motor control skills, decision skills, or communication skills."1 This includes virtual patient simulators, which are "a computer program that simulates real-life clinical scenarios in which the learner acts as a health care provider obtaining a history and physical exam, and making diagnostic and therapeutic decisions."2
This is distinguished from virtual reality simulations, which require the use of specialized head-mounted displays.
Virtual Patients - Review of Pedagogical and Technological Options
Download the Prezi presentation here: for MAC • for PC. View the recorded webinar here.
In this webinar, we reviewed the different types of virtual patients from a pedagogical perspective, tying technological structure to pedagogical purpose.
Virtual Simulations - What are my debriefing options?
Download Margaret Verkuyl's PowerPoint presentation here. View the recorded webinar here.
Presented by Margaret Verkuyl, leading designer and researcher in virtual simulations for nursing. In this webinar, Margaret reviewed different debriefing options when using virtual simulations and identified which debriefing format works best based on the learner, virtual simulation and learning outcomes.
List of Virtual Simulation Platforms
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list but a collection of platforms we have identified. If you know of something missing, please add a comment below and we will update the list.
|Anesthesia SimSTAT from CAE||Responsive||Anesthesia||En||No||Commercial|
|Body Interact (available in Canada from Nasco Healthcare)||Responsive||Multiple professions||En, Fr, more||Yes||Commercial|
|Video-Based Virtual Games from CAN-Sim||Branching||Nursing||En, Fr||No||Some free, some members only|
|Virtual Simulation Scenarios from Ryerson University, Centennial College & George Brown College||Branching||Nursing||En||No||Free|
|OpenLabyrinth from a Canadian consortium||Branching||Multiple professions||En||Yes||Open source|
|PureMedSim||Physiology||Physiology, medicine, pharmacy||En||No||Commercial|
|Reach gamified learning||Linear, branching||Interprofessional||En||Yes||Commercial|
|Turbulent Sky from Red River College||Virtual world||Disaster response||En||No||Free|
|Virtual Interactive Case system by PIE at University Health Network||Exploratory||Medicine, nursing, pharmacy||En||Yes||Commercial (non-profit)|
|abcdeSIM from the Virtual Medical School||Responsive||Medicine, nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|Aquifer||Linear||Medicine, nursing, osteopathy||En||No||Commercial (non-profit)|
|BreakAway Games - several platforms||Various||Medicine, Paramedicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Optometry, others||En||Yes||Commercial|
|CASUS Virtual Patients||Linear||Medicine||En||Yes||Commercial (non-profit)|
|DecisionSim by Kynectiv||Branching||Medicine||En||Yes||Commercial|
|Digital Clinical Experiences by Shadow Health||Exploratory||Nursing, pharmacy, geronotology||En||No||Commercial|
|DiscourseLLC Virtual Patient||Exploratory||Medicine (focus on surgery)||En||No||Commercial|
|DrSim by Accurate Solutions||Responsive||Medicine||En||Yes||Commercial|
|DxR Virtual Clinician and DxR Nursing Select||Exploratory||Medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, chiropractic||En||Yes||Commercial|
|FullCode Emergency Room Simulator||Responsive||Acute care||En||No||Commercial|
|i-Human Patients by Kaplan||Exploratory||Medicine, nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|MedActiV by SimforHealth||Exploratory||Medicine||En, Fr||Yes||Commercial|
|MedSims by WebMD/Medscape||Exploratory||Medicine||En||No||Commercial|
|OpenSimulator||Virtual world||Multiple professions||En||Yes||Open source|
|Otis the Virtual Patient by Innoforce||Exploratory||Audiology||En||No||Commercial|
|Oxford Medical Simulation Distance||Responsive||Medicine, nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|PCS Spark can be used through a web browser||Communication||Multiple professions; focus on communication||En||Yes||Commercial|
|Practical Clinical Skills||Linear||Multiple professions; core clinical assessment||En||No||Free|
|Real Life from ATI||Branching||Nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|safeMedicate||Med admin calculations||Nursing (safe medication practices)||En||No||Commercial|
|SentinelWorld from Healthcare Learning Innovations||Virtual world||Nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|Simucase||Exploratory, procedural||Audiology, SLP, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy||En||No||Commercial|
|SimulationIQ IPE & SimPHARM from EMS||Physiology/pharmacology||Interprofessional / Pharmacy||En||Yes||Commercial|
|Swift River Virtual Clinicals||Linear||Nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|uChoose from the University of the West of England||Branching||Multiple professions; existing focus on medicine||En||Yes||Free|
|USC Standard Patient from the University of South Carolina||Communication||Medicine||En||Yes||Free|
|vClinical from NurseThink||Linear||Nursing||En||No||Commercial|
|Virtual Clinical Excursions and other platforms from Elsevier||Exploratory||Nursing, Medical office admin||En||No||Commercial|
|vSim for Nursing from Laerdal and Wolters-Kluwer||Exploratory||Nursing||En||No||Commercial|
Here we list special cases, discounts, promotions and resources that simulation suppliers are offering during the pandemic. Again, this list is not exhaustive and we add items as we identify them. If we aere missing something, please contact us.
Affinity Learning - up to 5 users and 10 modules are free
CyberPatient - completely free during COVID
Oxford Medical Simulation Distance - free 60-day access to 5 cases
DxR Nursing SELECT - special 3-month trial subscription during COVID-19 closures
MedActiV from SimforHealth - free access to create and disseminate virtual sims related to COVID-19.
medspace.VR - free remote access license for students included with institutional license
SonoSim ultrasound simulation - free and discounted access to online courses and virtual U/S simulator
HumanSim Sedation & Airway - 10 free scenarios during COVID (PC only)
Resources & Advice to Enable Distance Simulations
See our page on Facilitating Simulations at a Distance for lists of resources and platforms.
Free COVID-19 Virtual Patients
We are compiling links to free virtual sims on COVID-19 per se on our COVID-19 Resources page.
- 1. Lioce L. (Ed.), Downing D., Chang T.P., Robertson J.M., Anderson M., Diaz D.A., and Spain A.E. (Assoc. Eds.) and the Terminology and Concepts Working Group (2020), Healthcare Simulation Dictionary –Second Edition. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; January 2020. AHRQ Publication No. 20-0019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.23970/simulationv2
- 2. ibid
- 3. For a review of this classification see Virtual Patients - Review of Pedagogical and Technological Options - adapted from Kononowicz AA, Zary N, Edelbring S, Corral J, Hege I. Virtual patients - what are we talking about? A framework to classify the meanings of the term in healthcare education. BMC Med Educ. 2015;15(1):11. doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0296-3 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/15/11