Virtual patient records

18 Aug 2014. Pharmacy students in NUS learn how to extract clinically relevant health information through a virtual patient records app.

Electronic health record (EHR)-related training is lacking in the curricula of many pharmacy schools outside the USA, which results in a lack of skills in pharmacy graduates. A team led by Dr Kevin YAP from the Department of Pharmacy in NUS has developed a Virtual Patient Records app to educate students on the types of patient health information that are available from EHRs.

This app is particularly useful for pharmacy students in their undergraduate years, who have yet to be exposed to EHRs and pharmacy management systems. Dr YAP, a lecturer and cyber-pharmacist, said that “without any exposure to EHRs within the school curriculum, these newly-graduated pharmacists may encounter difficulties in using EHRs to obtain relevant health and medication related information to manage their patients well.” There is a need to build a platform that contains the essential features of EHRs and pharmacy management systems, so that students can be versatile and adaptable to any system that they are exposed to when they graduate.

The tablet app prototype, which exists on an Android platform, comprises of mock health data of virtual patients (see Figure). The patient health information is used in combination with case scenarios as part of a pharmacy practice module to train students on how to properly manage patients therapeutically. The development team is working on versions for other devices as well.

This new Virtual Patient Records app is a timely educational initiative as the university gears towards technology-enhanced education, and Singapore ramps up its IT capabilities towards the vision of “One Singaporean, One Health Record”, through the development of a National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system. While the app will continuously be enhanced with more features, this is a major milestone for the Department of Pharmacy NUS as it trains a major proportion of the pharmacy workforce in Singapore, and it is crucial to keep our students both clinically and technologically relevant in today’s digitally connected society.



Image shows the storyboard screenshots of the Virtual Patient Records App prototype. (Picture credit: TOH Terry, YAP Kevin)


Toh TW, Chui WK, Yap KYL. “Development of a virtual patient record mobile app for pharmacy practice education.” Archives of Pharmacy Practice 5 (2014) 66.