Diffusion process of virtual consultations in French medical training: A socio-anthropologic approach

Caroline Simonpietri


Still emerging, simulation tools, like plastic or human models, seem to be more and more used in French medical universities. Simulation places the doctor apprentice in situations, often of emergency. They can also develop medical skills, through practice, without any possible harm for the patient. More than an “active” training, these tools allow the acquisition of “know-how”, in front of a patient like with the other caregivers. They also allow teachers to evaluate the clinical reasoning of their students, previously taught in books or lectures. What about virtual consultations on digital support such as a computer or tablet? What knowledge may this type of simulation convey? What can it bring to doctors? How to use it? What are the obstacles to its diffusion in medical education? To answer these questions, we have conducted several participant observation studies over two years in a digital agency, specialized in creating serious games for health care. In partnership with the University Paris Descartes, this mixed approach from public and private sectors, offers an original point of view of an « innovation under construction » a creation and storage platform of virtual consultations for health professionals. So, in a qualitative, comprehensive and inductive approach, we offer to analyze the diffusion process of virtual consultations in medical training, from its invention to its reception by final users. In this article, we detail the” socio-anthropological approach which we applied at the heart of the industrial sector of an occidental country. We also present the changes which occurred in the French medical training at the beginning of the 21st century. Then, based on these identified changes, we describe the tensions for the use of virtual consultations as a pedagogical tool, in France.


Medical Training- Virtual Consultation- Socio-Anthropology

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