A team from the University of Florida’s Center for Safety, Simulation & Advanced Learning Technologies (CSSALT), led by Chris Samouce, Ph.D., assistant scientist in the UF Department of Anesthesiology, has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Innovators Network to develop an interactive, online defibrillator simulation.
Defibrillators are not only used to restart a stopped heart during cardiac arrest; they are also used to correct irregular heart rates and rhythms in the operating room.
The simulator, which will have three learning modules and is modeled after the equipment currently used in the VA health system, will teach and reinforce the skills needed to operate defibrillators in the operating room.
Although the simulator is being developed for initial use by the VA, Samouce said its web-based format opens the opportunity to disseminate it more broadly. “These are timely procedures where every minute counts,” he said. “Familiarizing physicians with this equipment has the potential to improve response times, which can lead to improved patient outcomes.”
The project was initiated by Michael Kazior, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Richmond VA Medical Center & Virginia Commonwealth University Health.
“A lot of this stems from my own insecurities about using the defibrillator as an anesthesiology resident,” Kazior said. “It took a long time to feel comfortable with it. When I became an attending, I wanted to run mock codes for residents, but there was a knowledge gap.” He said situations which might need a defibrillator are stressful situations which are ripe for human error, and that it can be difficult to gain enough experience to become comfortable with the device.
Having observed a need for increased defibrillator training among anesthesiologists, Kazior reached out to our own professor of anesthesiology and CSSALT director Samsun Lampotang, Ph.D.
Lampotang said data from national MOCA courses had identified the same needs that Kazior had observed, and that simulations provide a way to effectively impart and test knowledge.
“A PowerPoint or lecture presentation is one-way and usually not interactive.” said Lampotang. “The simulation ensures you actually know how to set the current, which settings to use, and which knobs to turn.”
The CSSALT team plans to have completed work on the simulation by October.
Screenshots of defibrillator simulation courtesy of CSSALT. Screenshots represent a work in progress.