Surgical Science spoke with Dr. James Cooke, the executive director of the Clinical Simulation Center at Michigan Medicine about simulation training and how it can help improve patient outcomes.

Hi James, how do you use simulation in your residents’ program?
Here at the University of Michigan, simulation center resources have been integrated into our undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs. We know that simulation delivers educational benefits for learners. It is superior to other forms of education for complex task and procedural skill training. But beyond educational outcomes, we also wanted to evaluate the direct benefits of simulation training for Michigan Medicine patients.

What training did you evaluate?
With patient outcomes in mind, researchers analyzed the effectiveness of simulation training in preparing interdisciplinary teams at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital to respond to paediatric cardiac arrest.

Simulation enables healthcare teams to practice response to rare complications under realistic conditions, but without any risk to patients

And what did this evaluation show?
Frequency of procedure performance has been shown to improve outcomes. But the infrequency of some adverse events limits opportunities to gain experience with them. Simulation training solves this problem. It provides a chance for healthcare professionals to practice specific skills. As a result, simulation provides our learners with a risk-free environment where they could practice and hone their skills at regular intervals.

Important for patient safety, and in training away from the patient.
Patient safety is the highest priority. That’s what makes the risk-free aspect of simulation training such an important benefit. Simulation enables healthcare teams to practice response to rare complications under realistic conditions, but without any risk to patients. It allows learners to rehearse the skills they need when crisis strikes.

And how does this affect patient outcomes?
Regular simulation training improved clinical patient outcomes. Over the course of three years, researchers found that periodic simulated team training resulted in significant and sustained improvement in pediatric cardiac arrest outcomes. This study demonstrates that simulation training enabled healthcare teams to perform better in the actual clinical environment. And our patients did better as a result. The improved outcome rate is an incredibly powerful testament to the value of simulation training.

And what about the trainees? How do they responded to this sort of training?
Other research studies have shown that learners feel better after training or performed better on a test. Of course, that’s a positive. But as a destination hospital, our focus is on providing patients with the best available care. Our simulation-based mock code program significantly improved patient outcomes, and that is our ultimate goal.

So, a successful study promoting the positive aspects simulation training
The University of Michigan study provided evidence that simulation training can improve patient care, it enabled teams to practice critical events in preparation for the unexpected. We knew that simulation training could encourage the members of the healthcare team to train, evaluate, problem solve, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Now we have demonstrated that regular simulation practice can improve clinical patient outcomes as well.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This