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3 . 2022



The issue of developing effective technologies for teaching communication skills to doctors has been relevant over the past decades, which is confirmed by the corpus of research data from dozens of foreign and Russian authors analyzed for this study. The use of simulation technologies in this area is an innovative approach. The presented study describes the taxonomy of simulation types suitable for teaching communication skills and the selection criteria for one or another type depending on the learning objectives and technical capabilities. The subject of the study, therefore, is the virtual patient as a method of teaching communication skills to medical professionals. A virtual patient has a propaedeutic function in preparing the future doctor for an exposure to a real patient.

The authors took part in designing educational program for the specialty General Medicine and, taking into account Russian and foreign experience in this area, developed a work program for the discipline “Doctor’s Communication Skills“. The program integrates virtual patients, as well as a set of training activities for self-study and classroom work, an assessment system. The virtual patients for this course were developed based on real clinical cases, with each case redesigned according to the learning objectives of the specific module.

Blueprinting method was used to develop a set of training activities. They included online lectures, self-study work preparing presentations in small groups, work with a virtual patient, role-playing games with a standardized patient, discussions, and reflective essays.

A comparative analysis of the results of the input and output testing (n=209 students) revealed a high level of student satisfaction and made it possible to determine the prospects and directions for integrating virtual patients into the process of forming the doctor’s communicative competence.

Keywords:virtual patient; doctor’s communication skills; doctor’s communication competence; “doctor–patient” communication; educational program design; blueprinting

Funding. The study had no sponsor support.

Conflict of interest. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

For citation: Koroleva N.G., Lopatin Z.V., Vozdvizhenskaya A.V., Korolev K.Yu. Building doctor’s communication competence using virtual patients. Meditsinskoe obrazovanie i professional’noe razvitie [Medical Education and Professional Development]. 2022; 13 (3): 8–18. DOI: (in Russian)


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Balkizov Zalim Zamirovich
Professor of the Department of Professional Education and Educational Technologies, Associate Professor of the Department of Hospital Surgery of the N.I. Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, member of the Coordinating Council for Personnel Policy of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Adviser to the President of the National Medical Chamber, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education Events in the National Medical Chamber, Secretary General of the Russian Society of Medical Specialists General Representative of the Association for Medical Education in Europe, General Director of GEOTAR-Med
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