Simulation training also will allow faculty the opportunity to teach medical students and residents team-building and communication skills.
Dr. Eric Thomas, the principal investigator for the Center of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice, has been studying the adverse events that occur due to breakdown in communications within health-care teams. He sees the SCSC as an environment in which he can further this research and help solve the mysteries of physician error, most of which are preventable.
"Many of the team training strategies I've adapted for physicians are modeled upon training undertaken by commercial airline pilots," says Dr. Thomas, also associate professor of internal medicine. Dr. Thomas has applied for two grants related to research within the SCSC – one aimed at health-team training within neonatal resuscitation groups.
"Within the SCSC, we could recreate a delivery room for neonates and test teams with a simulation," he explains, adding that initially this study would be aimed at residents but subsequently involve physicians and nurses. "This would be novel because teamwork has not been tested – usually recertification of these professions involves only technical skills not teamwork behavior."
The other grant on which Dr. Thomas is seeking to involve the center concerns the standardized patient program. Standardized patients are actors employed by the center to test the students' clinical skills in exam-room settings.
"We would use standardized patients to understand missed and delayed diagnoses, primarily cancer, due to faulty thought processes and problems in the work environment," Dr. Thomas explains.
Standardized patients would be used to change the student's environment in this study.
"We would have a standardized patient act as a nurse, interrupting a doctor-patient encounter, for instance," Dr. Thomas says. "Our overall goal would be to see what types of environments are most important for physicians and how decision-making works."
Studies such as these will benefit from the center's ubiquitous video equipment for recording or transmitting real-time streaming video feeds for training and to conduct courses via the Internet. The center's two conference rooms will feature 50-inch LCD monitors available to play real-time demonstrations for teleconferencing or to replay previous work done in the center.
"We can record demonstrations and not have to reinvent the wheel each time. For example, if we have two groups coming in at different times for continuing medical education courses, we can perform the demonstration once, record it, and save it on the SCSC computer system to be played back later through streaming video on the Internet," Dr. Reichman explains.
The digital AV system also allows for scenarios to be played back instantly to students and teams, providing real-time feedback.
The digital audio video equipment is key to the standardized patient program. Fourteen faculty monitoring stations within the SCSC allow faculty to view the patientactor/ student encounter. Faculty will be able to view any patient room from any computer monitoring station. Faculty may also view the encounter from any computer with Internet access through a secure connection to the SCSC computer network, such as from their office.
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