Standardized Patients

Where Art Meets Science

Standardized Patients (SPs)are individuals who are trained to portray a patient with a specific condition in a realistic, standardized and repeatable way (where portrayal/presentation varies based only on learner performances). SPs can be used for teaching and assessment of learners including but not limited to history/consultation, physical examination and other clinical skills in simulated clinical environments. SPs can also be used to give feedback and evaluate student performance.(Association of Standardized Patient Educators [ASPE], n.d.).

SP simulation bridge the gap between lectures and practical application. Through SP simulation, learners are provided an environment where they can develop and grow refining them to become more compassionate, smarter and better healthcare providers.

History of Standardize Patients
The first simulated patient was born in 1963 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The father of this birth was Dr. Howard S. Barrows, a neurologist and medical educator at the university. Dr. Barrows's first simulated patient was Rose McWilliams. She was used to teach the normal neurological examination. After teaching the exam, Dr. Barrows pondered how he would evaluate the students. He needed a case that every single student would see in exactly the same way. His first case was Patty Dugger, a paraplegic woman with multiple sclerosis. This was the birth of a standardized patient. Over the years, Dr. Barrows has continued to develop and expand the use of simulated patients in medical education. Today, SP methodology has been adopted globally.

Integrate SP Simulation
If you are interested in Standardize Patient Simulation, please contact the Center at 202-865-0063 or email us at