Innovation Grants Results & Outcomes

Using Virtual Patients to Learn Key Cross Cover Skills 

10-02-2019 11:49 AM

The project team designed and implemented web-based virtual patient modules to develop fourth year medical students’ knowledge and skills in approaching and managing common cross cover scenarios on inpatient general internal medicine wards. We took a game-based approach to design 6 cases covering 27 cross-cover topics in the inpatient setting. Each case starts with a patient admitted to general internal medicine wards. A "chose your own adventure" format was used so the case unfolds according to management decisions made by the learner. A series of wrong decisions takes the case down the path of intensive care unit transfer and possible death, while appropriate decisions lead to an improvement in the patient's condition. Learners can see their score on the case and a comparative score for everyone else who has taken the case in real time. Each case concludes with a concise explanation of correct responses, followed by a more detailed explanation of approaching the various cross cover scenarios addressed by the case. This curriculum was implemented at the Medical College of Wisconsin for more than 190 fourth year medical students. We saw an improvement in knowledge scores on a pre-post quiz on approaching cross cover situations. Cases were highly rated for learning value and ease of use by students.

Our website with the cases, discussion, and explanations can be accessed at:

To obtain access for yourself or your institution, please email Dr. Ankur Segon (

Participating Institutions: Medical College of Wisconsin

Submitting Author: Ankur Segon, MD

Project Type: Technology and Teaching

Year Awarded: FY2015


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