THE VIRTUAL TEACHING HOSPITAL SYSTEM (VTHS)

John Barry Omara, Jonathan Hales

Abstract


As their course progresses, medical students amass a vast amount of information but must, crucially, develop the skills of diagnosis and patient management.  Such skills, learnt at the bedside, necessitate a great deal of time-consuming clinical oversight.  The ‘Virtual Teaching Hospital System’ (VTHS), is essentially a computer-assisted diagnostic system, designed to enable unlimited, unsupervised practise of clerking and diagnosing patients, using real or simulated data.  Developed in VB6.0 by Dr Omara, VTHS has been transformed to C-Sharp and PHP by the MCS Department.  It has been re-engineered for compatibility with the Medical School’s current clinical teaching policy, has focussed initially on a range of respiratory diseases, and is ready for evaluation by medical students.  It will be evaluated for impact on medical student group learning in Leicester and, if possible, more widely in the UK.  It has broader potential for the improvement of health care in developing countries, including Ethiopia and others in sub-Saharan Africa.  Donors such as WHO, UNICEF, SIDA and UNAIDS may sponsor the use of the program, in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and infant and maternal mortality.  VTHS was demonstrated to her Majesty the Queen on her recent visit and Elsevier have subsequently made enquiries.

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