'Virtual patients' to train military therapists (US)

University of Southern California’s (USC) Institute for Creative Technology has developed a ‘virtual patient’ which simulates the symptoms of clinical conditions such as PTSD and depression which are common with returning combat veterans. Developed under a grant from the US Department of Defense, the patient projected on screen is highly interactive and responds to the therapist in a fairly natural way, much as ‘standardized (human) patients’ are used to role-play in training. The initial test saw fifteen psychiatry residents carry a 15-minute interaction with a projected virtual patient. The software correctly recognized the therapist’s voice and responded to questions, allowing the residents to perform a preliminary diagnosis. Feedback from this and other user tests will be used to create an even more realistic simulation. See two simulations on video (03:32) Virtual veterans help train U.S. Army psychologists (GizMag)