Project: The Virtual Patient

In collaboration with:-The City of Utrecht-Utrecht University-Volte Foundation-Foundation Overvecht gezondCo-financed by Agis Zorginnovatiefonds.

The Virtual Patient

In the Virtual Patient project the Communicate platform has been adapted for training skills and insight into person-to-person communication between primary healthcare professionals and patients/clients with complex problems.

These are people with problems in physical, psychological, spiritual and social areas, who run more health risks  as a result of over- or undertreatment.


Together with professionals in primary care Volte Foundation has developed dialogue scenarios. These are used in Volte’s training programmes on the 4 domains model. For more information we refer you to the Volte Foundation

Clever game for healthcare professionals is launched

Publication by Daniëlle Arets

How does a General Practitioner bring a bad new message? How does a medical student succeed in empathically and clearly getting across a message within a ten minute consultation?

Psychology students, students of pharmacy or vetinary medicine, but also experienced healthcare professionals can now practise this kind of conversations with the Virtual Patient. Developed from broad collaboration between policymakers, experts, entrepreneurship and practice, this serious game demonstrates how in Utrecht clever innovation is brought about by collaboration.

The Virtual Patient enables students and healthcare professionals to have complex conversations with virtual characters in a secure online environment. The virtual characters master seventeen emotional expressions which they show when you enter into conversation with them. In the future other professionals, for example from secondary and primary schools and other areas of education, and prison guards, will also be able to practise their communication skills with these virtual characters.

Training by means of computer software is not new, what is new is a patient actually showing emotions. The game is user-friendly and can easily be adjusted to meet any need for training: a professional can introduce new conversations or situations for practising.

Public-private partnership

The Virtual Patient is the result of successful collaboration between public and private parties. Utrecht University has designed the clever game. Volte develops scenarios for the Virtual Patient from practical experience and uses them in their training programmes. Start-up DialogueTrainer places the software on the market and serves other target-groups besides Healthcare. The City of Utrecht has initiated the project and has  brought the various players together.


Improving information to and decision-sharing with limited healthcare patients in secondary palliative care by deepening insight into the desires and needs of these patients (medically, psychologically, spiritually and economically) as well as insight into the experience and strategies of professionals in medical practice. Based on these insights a toolkit for medical specialists and nursing staff will be developed and implemented. The toolkit will be provided in a digital learning environment. Besides we focus on recommendations for strengthening the collaboration between primary and secondary healthcare.