Table 1

Eligibility criteria for study inclusion in the systematic review

ParticipantsStudies that used pharmacists, pre-registration pharmacists and pharmacy students.Studies not using qualified pharmacists, pre-registration pharmacists or student pharmacists. Where studies used more than one type of participant, provided part of this met the inclusion participant criteria the study was included.
InterventionStudies evaluating, using or developing a VP that is in keeping with the definitions of this study or one that teaches, develops or contributes to counselling, communication or consultation skills. This had to include direct patient interaction.Studies incorporating a VP that is not in keeping with the definition of this study or with the purpose of the VP in this study. This included high-fidelity programmes and case studies. Where studies involved multiple technologies provided at least one was a VP the study was included. If the nature of the VP could not be established the study was excluded.
ComparisonsStudies using, evaluating or developing a VP with or without a control.Studies were not excluded on the basis of the presence or absence of a control.
OutcomesAll VP-related outcomes were considered including knowledge and confidence, perspectives, thoughts and implications.Studies were not excluded on the basis of the presence or absence of particular outcomes provided the VP and population were relevant.
Study designAll designs were included provided the nature of the VP was appropriate.Studies were not excluded on the basis of their design. Conference abstracts, pilot studies, descriptive studies and ‘grey-literature’ were excluded.
  • PICOS, patient, intervention, comparisons, outcomes and study design; VPs, virtual patients.