Use of computer-based decision-making simulations to augment patient, clinical and nonclinical education throughout Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

June 6, 2017 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

Rosalyn Scott, Veterans Health Administration
Manny Dominguez, Veterans Health Administration
Jeff Zack, Kynectiv

Virtual patient (VP) technologies were first introduced to VHA in2011 as the development of VHA's national simulation program, SimLEARN, was underway. VHA adopted the technology and initiated author training for educators and clinicians.  Targeted learners have included health care teams (clinicians, nurses, social workers, mental health professionals, etc.),chaplains, business operations staff and importantly patients. Local, regional and national case development has resulted in a broad range of implementations.Although initial efforts centered around traditional design of VP cases for individual computer-based clinical training, more novel applications have evolved.  Cases have been used as the initial step to teach communication skills which the learner would then apply in a follow-up standardized patient (SP) experience. Series of cases have been created that trace the continuum of care for a single patient from the perspective of different healthcare professions. Cases designed for computer access have been converted into facilitated hybrid simulations. VP Mentor feedback becomes the facilitator notes. Interviews, physical examinations and tasks are conducted with mannequins/SPs/task trainers rather than the results of same given within the VP case itself.  Subsequent decisions within the case are based on correct execution of hands-on elements. The most widely used case to date helps business operations staff maximize use of the electronic wait list for Veteran access to care. Fifteen simulations were completed recently to help Veterans understand provisions of the Veterans Choice Act. We will review VHA VP cases, analyze intra-case decision-making and present learner evaluations.