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Interventional Cardiologists Tested on Virtual Patient Simulators

Wooden  mechanical horse simulator during WWI.Image from WikipediaCardiologists and other medical specialists are required to complete training and education "modules" by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) for renewal of their board certification. For the first time, the ABIM is allowing cardiologists to take one of these modules by performing cases on a life-sized mannequin, a virtual patient named "Simantha."

This virtual patient simulation is offered at one of six Medical Simulation Corporation’s six SimSuite education centers, located at major medical schools across the United States. The patient simulation is also offered at major cardiology conferences.

More information is available from the ABIM's web page:
During the SimSuite session, which lasts between two and three hours, diplomates will perform cases on “Simantha,” a life-size mannequin, and answer two questionnaires. The simulator also includes six monitors that show displays found in an angiographic suite, and multimedia characters representing the patient, assistants and mentors.

Information on the simulated patient includes a pre-brief patient history and procedure simulation. The pre-brief patient history displays information about the patient and lists drugs given and examinations performed prior to the procedure. Diplomates completing the cases apply their practice knowledge and judgment in a real-time fashion. The system records comprehensive performance data which can be used separately or combined to create metrics for each scenario. Feedback will be provided to the diplomate once the data is analyzed by ABIM. Proctors will provide training in the use of the simulation technology and will allow you to practice on a training case before you begin the five simulations. Once finished, you will be asked to complete two surveys, one about your experience on the simulator and one about your interventional cardiology experience.

“The Interventional Cardiology Simulations represent the first time that ABIM has applied a simulation technology tool as a means of understanding cognitive and procedural proficiency as part of the self-evaluation component of Maintenance of Certification,” said Rebecca S. Lipner, PhD, Vice President of Psychometrics and Research Analysis at ABIM. “We believe that simulation reflects many of the experiences interventional cardiologists may face in practice, and we are planning to expand the number of available cases. In addition, we continue to explore applying simulation technology to the self-assessment process in various subspecialties.”
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Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.