Center for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning

Using Simulation as a Research Tool

Drawing Up Dantrolene

Another category of research involves the use of simulation as a research tool to study other things (that is not studying simulation itself). The VA Simulation Group has done a number of studies of aspects of health care using simulation.

Medical Care Processes and Protocols: Similarly, simulations can probe clinicians’ ability to use and implement standard care processes and protocols, especially in the course of dynamic, time-critical emergencies. For example a recent study demonstrated that using “cognitive aids” (e.g. checklists) significantly helped anesthesiologists manage a highly lethal but rare complication (< 1 per 40,000 cases) called malignant hyperthermia (MH). Treating MH requires mixing and administering a special (orange colored) medicine called dantrolene. Because MH is so rare and unexpected, the way that clinicians respond to it can only be studied using simulation. For the scientific paper about this study please visit the Anesthesia and Analgesia website.

videoWatch a video of a fatigued anesthesiologist…

Human Performance of Healthcare Personnel: Another use of simulation is to study the performance of healthcare personnel under different conditions. For example, to assess how well they do in conducting (simulated) clinical care when they are sleep deprived versus fully rested, a study that would be impossible to conduct during real patient care.

For the scientific paper about this study please visit the Anesthesiology website.

Human Factors Of Medical Equipment: Current medical equipment is complex and can be confusing to clinicians. Simulation allows presenting clinicians with a standardized clinical challenge in which optimum use of the relevant equipment is important to see how well they perform and what kinds of errors or pitfalls occur.

For the scientific paper about this study please visit the Simulation in Healthcare website.


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