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Table 1 Case examples

From: Virtual patients: the influence of case design and teamwork on students’ perception and knowledge – a pilot study

Aspects Case 1: hepatitis Case 2: pneumothorax
Description A patient returns from a trip to Africa with symptoms of an infection. A passenger on an international flight experiences acute chest pain.
Suggested study time 30 min 30 min
Objectives and outcomes Students will learn the differential diagnoses, relevant lab results and serum tests for hepatitis. Students will learn the first measures for dealing with acute chest pain, as well as causes, symptoms, diagnostics and treatment of a spontaneous pneumothorax.
Perspective Case is told from the point of view of a single treating physician. Case is told from the point of view of a single treating physician.
Narrative style Patient is presented using precise descriptions and condensed information. The case is told like a story, describing the setting and background of the situation beyond necessary information.
Media Pictures of physical findings (e.g. jaundice), tables of lab results Radiology findings, videos on how to place a chest tube
Interactivity use Nine MC questions, some with multiple correct answers. ‘Mouseover’ explanations, hyperlinks and expert comments Eight textboxes to answer questions and compare with the suggested answers. ‘Mouseover’ explanations, hyperlinks and expert comments
Question content Facts about the disease, lab results and differential diagnoses; can be answered without reading the case Diagnostic steps, interpreting findings, how to treat the patient; details which the treating physician would think about in that situation
Path type Linear (string of pearls) Linear (string of pearls)
Feedback use Explanations regarding the correctness/incorrectness of each MC option Reference answers and explanations for the users to compare to their own input
Expert comment Detailed information on jaundice and hepatitis B serology Video instructions on placing a chest tube, X-ray studies of pneumothorax