Computer-Based Simulations: A Solution for Interprofessional Learning and Collaborative Practice

Sunday, August 21, 2022, 10:30 am - 11:30 am CDT

Allied health professionals must deliver high-quality services that address the multifaceted needs of their clients and the community at large. This goal requires effective collaboration with other healthcare providers, care team members, and community stakeholders. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC®) competencies build upon discipline-specific standards set forth by accreditation councils to help allied health students gain the exposure, confidence, and competencies needed to provide collaborative care across practice settings. To develop skillful collaborative practice, students need opportunities to participate in interprofessional education (IPE) activities throughout their preprofessional training. Students must also gain skills within different practice settings, supported by strong understanding of the scope of practice and relationship among intraprofessional and interprofessional providers working in these settings.

Traditional training to achieve IPE competencies includes interprofessional research opportunities for students, on-campus lab simulation involving students from various disciplines, and role-playing with students or simulated actors. There are, however, challenges to designing and implementing traditional interprofessional experiences that meet competencies to practice in dynamic healthcare settings. These include organizational barriers to scheduling live experiences across different programs on campus, budgetary limitations, learning objectives differing by program, and limited opportunities for students to gain sufficient practice during preprofessional training.

A growing body of research supports using simulation and virtual platforms as alternative means to addressing core competencies of clinical practice, including those for interprofessional collaboration. Examples in the literature include computerized virtual patient software, telehealth service delivery, and role-play tutorials using video resources combined with supplemental activities. Simucase® is a computer-based simulation platform that provides students with interactive experiences designed to teach complete processes using virtual client scenarios. These scenarios provide students with the opportunity to repeatedly practice clinical skills in a safe, asynchronous learning environment. During assessment or intervention of a virtual client, students must collaborate with and learn from other members of the care team. Students gain practice interviewing a client, collaborating with other professionals, performing assessments, providing intervention, and designing a plan of care. In doing so, they learn about scope of practice, care teams, roles and responsibilities, and appropriate communication required to achieve optimal care.

This course will provide strategies for curriculum integration to address the four core competencies of interprofessional practice within diverse healthcare settings via computer-based simulation. Occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, audiology, and social work professionals will participate in this talk and describe best practice simulation methodologies as well as sample debriefing rubrics for meeting learning objectives and curriculum standards across professions. Participants will receive access to rating checklists and curriculum guides which provide a practical framework for debriefing. While these checklists were designed specifically for use with computer-based simulations, they apply to any modality whereby debriefing is indicated.