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:


1. Simulated: fictitious records and fictitious users on Education server

Our simulated model with fictitious, case study patients, has been used in the years in different ways, here are a few examples:

  • Universities create case study patients in the Education server. Students are then able to look at that record and add data to it, as well as complete care plans and discuss the medical case with tutors and colleagues. When appropriate, PKB will create the case studies on behalf of the university, based on the data provided by the education institution itself.

  • 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 in the platform and then they switch roles.

2. Hybrid: fictitious records and real patients on Education server

In the hybrid model, the students work with patient volunteers or actors.

  • The earliest use of PKB for medical education purposes by University of Leicester Medical School started out with medical students using the platform to hone their digital communication skills. They practiced with fictitious patients acted out by individual volunteers. The Leicester team defined a database of fictitious patients - giving these individuals fake names, demographics, illnesses, medications, and allergies. A handful of volunteers operated the PKB platform and role-played their fictitious identity and their corresponding health in the PKB platform.

  • In some other universities, there are patient volunteers that are happy to bring their genuine health experiences and information, and interact with the students through our platform. Working with real patients gives students more authenticity. However, they do not use their real PKB record but create one on the education record. 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’s education server

  • Some educators recruit in their communities

3. Live: real records of real patients on Production server

In this model, real patients open up their real record on our Production server to students so these can learn directly about real care and authentic records.

Students will look at the records under direct tutor supervision to ensure safeguarding of the patients' data.

The educators can ask their existing volunteers who already have real PKB records or recruit new volunteers who are willing to share their records. Educators can ask PKB to sign-post to existing PKB patients that the institution is recruiting volunteers.

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 (simulated/hybrid/live), 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 educator 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 fictitious patients - hybrid model

All patient users on PKB’s education server are volunteers and these individuals are ‘actors’ in the environment. But bear in mind that you don’t need to have patients volunteers in order to use PKB with students: you can create case study patients.

Educators must decide how many patient users they need for their student. 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.

To register the patient users, the Teams' coordinators should:

  1. Create a CSV file of the required number of patient users (PKB Project Manager to send the CSV template file)

    1. Each user needs an email address to receive the invite and fictitious demographics

    2. 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. Upload the CSV to the umbrella team of your organisation

  3. Pre-populate the fictitious patients’ records as required, e.g. with diagnoses, symptoms and allergies etc.

  4. Give your fictitious patients a script and instructions to use PKB (PKB Project Manager to send the instructions)

  5. Allocate each patient user to the relevant student team

Setting up fictitious patients - simulated model

  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.

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’s 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.