MSU Virtual Practice (MSUVP) - HealthTeam - Michigan State University

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msu virtual practice (msuvp)

Virtual Practice Logician Application

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Purpose The MSUVP will use an electronic medical record (EMR) containing simulated ("virtual") patients in health professions education. Students will:
  1. Learn to use an EMR
  2. Use the EMR to learn and demonstrate competency in the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors to deliver high-quality medical care in interdisciplinary teams

Michigan State University has five health related colleges: Natural Science (Nat Sci), Veterinary Medicine (CVM), Nursing (CON), Osteopathic Medicine (COM), and Human Medicine (CHM). These colleges have long shared courses, and research programs. In 2001, the latter three colleges, which share a clinical practice at the MSU Clinical Center, adopted an electronic medical record, Logician, and became a major implementation site for the vendor, GE Medical Systems. At the same time, CHM began an "information management" curriculum, and began to develop and implement global competencies, courses and other aspects of information management in the medical student curriculum. This activity led to a Working Group on the Virtual Practice, an effort including faculty from all five colleges to develop pilot projects and a working model of the Virtual Practice (MSUVP). In the Fall of 2002, two modules were developed, to be implemented in the Spring Semester, 2003 in the College of Human Medicine.

The MSUVP, over the two years of its incubation, has met with enthusiasm at all levels, from MSU Computing and Technology, to the Deans, the Curriculum Committees and the Faculty. Any innovation of the ultimate magnitude and importance of this one will take many years, and a great deal of consistent and coordinated effort. It is clear that MSU has a commitment to long-term development and implementation of the MSUVP. This is evidenced by start-up funds provided by the office of Computing and Technology for development of the modules to be implemented in 2002-2003. In addition, GE Medical Systems has shown enthusiasm and support by providing discounted Logician EMR licenses to the MSUVP, and in-kind technical support. This support is expected to continue through the life of the developmental phase.


MSU Virtual Practice© will serve as an electronic learning laboratory that will enable health professions students to develop "unconscious competence" in the use of EMR technology to effectively:

  • reinforce learning
  • develop essential competencies in use of longitudinal patient information stored electronically
  • use clinical decision support tools
  • incorporate evidence-based resources, practice guidelines and chronic disease management protocols
  • deliver and document high-quality and cost-conscious individual and population-based health care services
  • work in interdisciplinary health care teams
  • analyze and improve practice patterns
  • explore opportunities for scholarly inquiry

Ultimately, the goal is to help health professions students become self-sustaining, lifelong learners who effectively, efficiently and consistently gather, organize and communicate relevant patient-specific data to other members of the health care team. In addition, students will be trained and encouraged to develop lifelong habits of effectiveness in accessing, analyzing and conveying to patients and families important information regarding current best practices in a participatory manner that respects patient autonomy and individual preferences.

The following conceptual model characterizes the potential role of the Virtual Practice as a focus and a delivery vehicle for these complex objectives.

Decorative Element

This is a long-term innovation that will substantially transform aspects of the professional education of students in Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine, and Human Medicine. It will also require faculty to become skilled, not only with their own patient care using the EMR, but also with developing and using the EMR as a teaching tool. Once established, this process will become integral to all curriculum development in the future of the colleges. We propose a five-year intensive development program to accomplish the following objectives:

  • develop a critical mass of completed curricular modules in all three human health colleges
  • develop a curricular infrastructure in all three colleges consisting of
    • a trained faculty across basic science, pre-clinical, and clinical courses to develop and use the Virtual Practice in their courses
    • leadership group consisting of a content faculty person in each college with access to EMR technical support, and evaluation support
Target Audience

The primary target audience is faculty in the MSU Colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing. The secondary audience is faculty in the MSU Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, and Natural Science and all health professions educators. We are committed to disseminating the results of our work throughout the five-year period. To date, with pilot funds from MSU, we have developed two pilot courses, but also an accepted presented abstract at a professional meeting, and a pending grant proposal, and a related manuscript. To these means of dissemination, we would add nationally accessible workshops and faculty development courses.

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