UF Health physicians can now earn CME and Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA) credits by training on three simulators with integrated virtual coaches created by the Center for Safety, Simulation & Advanced Learning Technologies (CSSALT).
The accreditation of the resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA), central venous access (CVA), and regional anesthesia (RA) mixed reality simulators is an important step in expanding hands-on, simulator-based mastery training to the Department of Anesthesiology’s regional anesthesia programs as the UF Health footprint grows. It will also benefit medical professionals on the Gainesville campus by facilitating cost-effective training on a flexible schedule.
Sem Lampotang, Ph.D., FSSH, FAIMBE, the Joachim S. Gravenstein Professor of Anesthesiology and director of CSSALT, and Nikolaus Gravenstein, M.D., the Jerome H. Modell, M.D., Professor of Anesthesiology, developed the idea for this use of the simulators. They proposed it to John P. Santiago, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology and associate chair for systems integration. In his role with the regional practices, Santiago is developing and sustaining relationships that affect clinical strategies and workflows to promote best practices and patient satisfaction.
Yahya Acar, M.D., a simulation fellow at CSSALT, and Lampotang worked with administrative specialist Karen Horowitz, M.H.A., on the accreditation process, which involved about four months of extensive planning and paperwork and another month for approval.
The accreditation is the first time that simulator-based mastery training by a virtual coach has been approved for CME and MOCA credit at UF. Previously, the training was available only at the simulation center in Gainesville.
All three accredited simulators are easy to transport and user-friendly to set up on regional campuses. In addition to the regional practices at UF Health Central Florida and Halifax Health, the simulators are also expected to be made available to medical professionals at UF Health Jacksonville and in other UF Health departments. The simulators and curricula were validated with clinical input and applications from numerous UF clinicians: CVA (Gravenstein, Albert Robinson, M.D., Joshua Sappenfield, M.D.), RA (Barys Ihnatsenka, M.D.), and REBOA (Robert Smith, M.D., RDMS, FACS from the Department of Surgery, Acar).
One of the key advantages of the simulators with virtual coaches is accessibility. Trainees can independently learn the technique while a virtual coach provides detailed explanations of what the learner needs for mastery and feedback on how to improve.
This teaching model allows learners to train as their schedule permits, reduces scheduling challenges, and saves time and human resources associated with in-person instruction. In the particular case of the regional hospitals, it also reduces the need for an instructor from the main campus in Gainesville to travel to the regional hospital to teach.
In-person teaching of techniques such as REBOA can be time consuming and challenging. An experienced trainer is needed, and existing simulators are not always easily accessible.
“There is a demand for training,” Acar said. “For REBOA, the accredited simulator training offers a major advantage given the challenges of finding trained instructors.”
Even with experienced trainers, it is difficult for an in-person instructor to train all participants to mastery. “With the simulator, the assessment is standardized,” said Acar, who was assigned to develop the REBOA simulator as part of his fellowship along with UF mechanical engineering students and CSSALT engineers. Last fall, 14 UF surgery residents trained on the REBOA simulator as part of the validation phase.
Although CME credits are available for physicians and CAAs and MOCA credits only for anesthesiologists, the training will be available to all who want to pursue it, including CRNAs, nurses, and interns. Those who are interested can complete a form on the Department of Anesthesiology’s website to request the training. One credit of CME and one credit of MOCA can be earned per simulator, and learners have flexibility on the time it takes to complete the training.
“I think this is going to lead the way to more simulators and more portable simulators as Dr. Lampotang and his team continue to grow their program,” Horowitz said. “Our CME office within the department is excited and looking forward to the possibilities. I see this becoming a gateway to helping organizations outside of UF and potentially a gateway to helping nonacademic centers upgrade their training.”
The team’s long-term goals include quality improvement studies on whether the training improves clinical outcomes, such as decreasing pelvic hemorrhage mortality by REBOA training or decreasing complications with the CVA training.
Acar said he was excited by the project’s potential to expand important training in an innovative format.
“It’s one of the best projects in my life,” he said. “It has the potential to change practice.”
Request a simulator here.