How to Deploy

This guide is for educational institutions using PKB to teach their students.

Each educational institution decides how to use PKB, including whether they want to have patient volunteers or case study - fictitious- patients. These are the three options:


Module 1: Volunteer role-play

The first model of use, which involves actual patient volunteers or actors, offers students the most comprehensive and authentic experience with the platform. It allows them to effectively emulate their roles as healthcare professionals in a progressively digitised healthcare system, where remote patient interactions are becoming more prevalent. 

In fact, through PKB, students and patients can communicate with each other via the platform’s secure messaging function, elevating the experience to a very realistic level. 

Note: patient volunteers  do not use their real PKB record but create one on the education server. These individuals can conceal their identity if they wish but MUST NOT enter their real health care identifiers number.

Recruiting volunteer patients:

  • Some educators ask existing volunteers – individuals with real health/medical conditions who work with students – to use PKB to complement their already existing work with students. 

  • Some educators recruit volunteers in their communities. PKB can support the university in creating comms materials for this - such as leaflets or posters. 

Model 2: Students role-play

Some universities opt not to involve patients; instead, they have their students participate in a role-playing activity where they take on the roles of both patients and healthcare professionals.

For example, at City University Midwifery course, half of the students play the role of the Midwife, and half play the role of the parent-to-be, working on shared care planning within a case study scenario which was invented by the module lead. The students interact with each other on the platform, simulate appointments and communicate through PKB messaging function.

The same was done at Liverpool John Moores University, with pharmacy students. 

Model 3: Case study record

This model of use does not involve interaction with other people, being them patient volunteers, actors or students playing the role of the patients. 

Universities choosing this utilisation pattern create - with PKB’s support -  their own case study patients and put them in the Education side of the platform i.e. education server.   Students are then able to look at that record, reviewing for example conditions, medications, blood results, and add data to it, as well as complete care plans and discuss the medical case with tutors and colleagues. 

The case study patients can be, depending on the case: 

  • Created manually by the teaching team;

  • Created by PKB on behalf of the university, based on the data provided by the education institution itself;

  • Chosen by the institution from a pool of pre-existing patients available on PKB. 

Implementation Plan for Education

Setting up educational organisation

  1. Sign contract for educational use of PKB

  2. Choose who will register as coordinator users to configure your use of PKB with your students and patients (usually professors or university administrative staff)

  3. Agree with PKB: the model use (volunteer role-play/ students role-play/case study records), how the platform will be set up, and which features will be used

  4. Fill in the “set up questionnaire”, provided by the PKB Project Manager

  5. Professors and administrative staff attend the PKB training session

  6. PKB Project Manager to set up the platform and invite the teams' coordinators - THIS STAGE TAKES AROUND A MONTH

  7. Coordinators to register and to invite all the educators who will be involved in monitoring the students’ use of PKB

  8. By default: PKB Project Manager registers as a coordinator and as a professional too, in order to be able to support the users if they have issues. Please note: this way PKB would have access to your users data. If you prefer this not to happen, let us know.

Setting up student users

  1. Coordinator invites each student to register using the educational email address of the student

  2. Each student registers for a PKB professional account to use the platform

  3. If agreed with the educators, your PKB Project Manager will provide an introduction to Patients Know Best and a demonstration of how to use the platform to all students during a lecture (remotely)

  4. Educators provide students scenarios, guidance and protocol around how to use PKB, this can include:

    1. Do’s and don’ts of PKB/online etiquette

    2. What functionality will you encourage the students to use

    3. What rules will be applied to the student teams in PKB - how they curate responses to volunteer patients in the platform - encourage shared decision making

Setting up patient volunteers/actors

All patient users on PKB’s education server are volunteers and these individuals are ‘actors’ in the environment. But bear in mind that having patient volunteers is not a condition you have to satisfy to use PKB with students: you can decide to have case study patients or to have your students role-play.

Educators must decide how many patient users they need for their students. Typically, one patient user is needed for each group of students: the students need to have one patient user to interact with, and the patient user’s record should not be available to other students so interactions are separate across student groups. A single volunteer can still be acting with multiple patient users with multiple logins, supporting multiple student groups.

The teams' coordinators will be trained by PKB on how to invite patients to the platform. The process will be similar to the one described below:

  1. PKB Project Manager will send to the coordinator the template of a spreadsheet that the coordinator will fill in with the patients' names and email addresses.

    1. Each user needs an email address to receive the invite. Patients who don’t want to use their normal email address can set up another one free of charge on or and can do so with a fictitious identity.

  2. The coordinator will upload the spreadsheet to the umbrella team of the organisation and then allocate each patient user to the relevant student team


Alternatively, the coordinator can add each patient to the correct team, without the need to fill in the spreadsheet.

PKB Project Manager will provide user guides that the teams' coordinator can share with patients.

Setting up case study records

The teams' coordinators will be trained by PKB on how to create case study patients. The process will be similar to the one described below:

  1. Coordinator creates dummy emails for the case study patients

  2. Coordinator invites the case study patients to register, then completes registration

  3. Coordinator decides who’s the person in charge of adding data to the fictitious patient’s record

  4. Person in charge logs in as a patient and add data to the record.

When appropriate, to make the process less admin intensive for educators, PKB will create the case studies on behalf of the university, based on the data provided by the education institution itself. This is done for example when the same case study needs to be replicated for a number of times.

PKB also has available a pool of pre-made case study records that the education institutions can use with their students.

While you are using PKB

Your PKB Project Manager will be available for support and will send you statistics about your students' engagement on the platform. Let us know if there are specific stats you’d like to see.

All our users can get in touch with our Support team if they have issues using the platform.

After your use

Team coordinator/s to have a call with the PKB Project Manager to discuss:

  • user feedback

  • intentions for the future use of PKB

  • whether it is possible to write a use case/case study about the use of PKB by that institution

Explanatory video

Below you can find a video explaining our models of use and some example of how some education institutions are using PKB.