Virtual Patient Teaches Real Life MTM Skills

Published Online: Monday, January 14, 2013
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 An online program featuring a diabetic virtual patient improved pharmacists’ confidence in their medication therapy management (MTM) skills, according to a study appearing in the September 2012 edition of American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

The increased knowledge and comfort level has the chance of increasing the frequency of MTM sessions with diabetic patients, study authors concluded.

The online program used Internet-based software and featured 4 virtual MTM simulations. The simulations were a text-only, transcribed conversation with a virtual patient, and allowed pharmacists or pharmacy students to select their counseling response from a multiple-choice list. The model provided immediate feedback about the response selection, including why the selection was appropriate or not, and allowed participants to continue the conversation or go back to select a different response. Each scenario incorporated the American Pharmacists Association and National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ 5 elements of MTM consultation.

Forty-two pharmacists and 80 student pharmacists participated in the simulation and completed pre- and post-intervention assessments. Researchers used the survey results to gauge pharmacists’ and student pharmacists’ perception of behavioral control related to MTM, attitudes and perceptions regarding behavioral norms, and topic and counseling knowledge.

At the study conclusion, more than half of the participants stated their intention to use the program skills in their daily practice. Although researchers recorded no improvements regarding attitude toward or perception of MTM performance, participants’ overall knowledge of MTM was increased. In addition, both groups reported feeling that the simulation increased their ability to control the performance of an MTM session.

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