Whether it’s taking a patient’s medical history or performing a physical exam—the first clinical encounter can be a stressful experience for many medical students.

But now, thanks to a web-based learning platform known as CyberPatient, students will be able to gain the confidence they need by interacting with animated patients in a virtual world.

Launched by Interactive Health International (IHI) and backed by the University of British Columbia (UBC), CyberPatient has been developed with help from local technical partners like the Centre for Digital Media.

CyberPatient is an interactive learning platform that mimics real-world experience. It lets medical students apply what they’ve learned in school to virtual patients across a full continuum of care, from the first doctor’s visit to the emergency room, to the point where the patient is discharged.

“Like pilots training to fly an airplane on a simulator, a learner will have the ability to practice on many virtual patients before ever treating a real one,” says CyberPatient CEO and Founder Dr. Karim Qayumi.

“Standing in the middle of an emergency room with people screaming in pain all around me, I realized medical school didn’t prepare me for this,” Qayumi added, recalling his first time on the medical wards.

With constrained hospital budgets and overpacked schedules, today’s medical students face a similar problem, which is not helpful for optimal patient outcomes. CyberPatient solves that problem.

Students can sharpen their abilities for history taking, physical examinations, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients.

Coinciding with its official launch, CyberPatient is offering its next-level medical training app for free for universities in the developing world. “I know how difficult it is for people in some countries to reach the level of medical education that we enjoy,” says Qayumi.

“It’s my duty to make a difference to human beings around the world.”