This week Medical Daily reported on “Patrick,” a “simulated patient that talks to medical students while offering real-time feedback about the virtual prostate exam he’s receiving.”Patrick is connected to a mock prostate in a robotic ass.From Medical Daily:Patrick serves a dual purpose: personal and professional. Personally, he comes equipped with software that enables him to interact emotionally with the student and voice any concerns he has about the procedure. Dr. Benjamin Lok, one of the program’s designers, says the interpersonal relationship Patrick helps foster is invaluable from a practicing perspective. “This virtual human patient can talk to the learner, expresses fears and concerns about the prostate exam, and presents a realistic patient encounter,” Lok told Geekosystem.The other purpose he serves is functional. Patrick is endowed with force sensors, which can alert the student when he or she is being too aggressive, and can report how thorough the student was in his or her examination.“Consider this,” Lok said, “how would a medical student know if they are doing a good prostate exam? Currently it is impossible for the educator to gauge performance. This simulation provides performance, feedback, and an opportunity to learn and lower anxiety.”The image of “Patrick” in action looks to us like the very worst video game peripheral imaginable. Let’s hope he’s not the butt of too many jokes. We’d all rather our new doctors get some simulator practice in before going to town on the rest of us.