When the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of college campuses across the globe, healthcare education faculty needed to adapt quickly to online course delivery. One solution: heavier usage of online resources, including ‘virtual patient’ case study software like that developed and marketed by DxR Development Group.

“When campuses are off-limits to faculty, staff, and students, schools still need to keep students progressing toward degree completion, and that’s where our software can help,” says DxR Development Group VP for Administration/Sales Diane Tennyson.

DxR’s virtual patient software products for training future doctors, physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners, and physical therapists are a popular alternative for many schools. DxR Clinician, DxR Nursing SELECT, the Clinical Competency Exam, and VirtualPT Clinician are all Web-based problem-based learning tools available from wherever students may be learning.

When campuses closed, two popular forms of experiential learning were suddenly inaccessible: clinical sites were off-limits, and high-tech manikin simulation labs were out of reach of both faculty and students. Some schools were more prepared than others. State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri had already licensed use of DxR Nursing SELECT, so within a week, faculty and students were using virtual patient scenarios to replace missed clinical time, according to SFCCMO Informatics Coordinator Alyssa Schroeder. “The curriculum itself has remained the same. We are just delivering in a different format. Online resources were essential for adapting to the online environment, particularly for clinical replacement.”

Other schools invested in DxR software when they foresaw the need to move classes and some clinical experiences online. The University of North Carolina Charlotte licensed DxR Clinician for their nurse practitioner program and pivoted quickly to the online environment.

Read more about UNCC’s experience here.

“A number of our clients, besides being faculty, are also working clinicians,” says Lily Vucinic, Senior Project Manager in charge of DxR Clinician. “What they tell us about DxR Clinician is that during these difficult times, the program has become essential and will be more so in the future. Our virtual patients are based on real patient data, and faculty tell us their students are challenged by realistic clinical scenarios. Those cases can stand in for types of cases missed in clinical rotations.”

Even before most states closed their campuses, DxR Development offered schools a special 3-month trial license to address an urgent need for online material for the rest of the 2020 spring semester. DxR’s project managers responded rapidly, with additional training sessions and product demos.

“All of our project managers were working from home, but we were able to respond with Web meetings in which we conducted personal demonstrations and refresher training sessions for faculty, who were also working from their homes,’ says Jeanne Ferraro, DxR’s Senior Project Manager for VirtualPT Clinician. “Faculty have to get up to speed immediately rather than over a planned period of time that they choose. We can help them do that because we’re available as needed by phone, web, or email, which is how we usually operate.”

But DxR’s healthcare education products are more than just replacements for clinical rotations. DxR Clinician, DxR Nursing SELECT, and VirtualPT Clinician allow students to practice and develop their clinical reasoning and judgment skills – the ‘thinking’ part of professional practice— in a safe, convenient, and repeatable manner.

“With our program (DxR Clinician), when working up the virtual patients, students are allowed the time to be thoughtful and intentional about their patient,” says Vucinic. “This aids them in the real-world clinical setting by developing and refining critical reasoning skills. Instructors see the students’ chronological thought processes as they employ analytic reasoning to gather information and locate scientific evidence to generate and iteratively update their workup. The scenarios encompass the whole process, from framing the patient’s problems, to the differential diagnosis and then managing patient care. Instructors can more easily objectively quantify students’ developing performance by using the program to supply progressive and repetitive assessments through their program.”

If you’re interested in learning more about DxR Development’s healthcare education product and how they can fit into your curriculum, contact sales@dxrgroup.com for a free personalized product demonstration.

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