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February 26, 1997

The Virtual Physician: The Flight Simulator of Medicine/ACLS Simulator

JAMA. 1997;277(8):674-675. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540320076042

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This CD-ROM produced by Churchill Livingstone medical publishers offers continuing medical education (CME) credit hours and an opportunity to review and practice resuscitation activities. The user interface is very hightech multimedia. A fast processor, sound card, CD-ROM drive, and at least 8 MB of RAM are necessary to fully appreciate the program's features.

The stated educational goal of The Virtual Physician is to simulate an actual patient sustaining a cardiac arrest in an emergency department setting. Although the effects are excellent, the simulation fails to be realistic. This is not a fault of the concept but a problem of the computer-student interface, which is limited by unrealistic actions of a mouse or any pointing device. The program is true to the learning goals of traditional advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) courses, emphasizing the use of initial defibrillation in ventricular fibrillation and reviewing the arrhythmia treatment algorithms.

The program offers several