Training and Education Impact Medical Errors and Outcomes
Patient safety has always been a top priority within healthcare. However, increasingly complex procedures, new treatment options, more interdisciplinary collaboration and a growing number of patients all put very high demands on today’s health care providers. This is further aggravated by working time regulations, staff availability, more complex and sophisticated medical devices in addition to increased medico-legal action.
Preventable medical errors occur today in 8-10 % of cases. The annual cost of medical errors for the health care system in the US alone is approximately 37.6 billion USD (of which 17 billion are estimated as preventable). A 1999 report from the US Institute of Medicine estimated that 98,000 Americans die due to medical errors each year, exceeding deaths related to motor vehicle accidents (43,000), breast cancer (42,000), and AIDS (17,000).1 In 2009, ten years later, a follow-up national investigation by the Hearst Corporation concluded that there had been little or no progress on improving patient safety.2
A comprehensive and goal-oriented training and education program is a prerequisite to ensure that patient safety stays in focus. A well thought-through in-hospital training curriculum, in which the individual components of how one learns to operate are addressed separately and in a logical order, is vital to ensure success. In order to achieve acceptable performance levels, i.e. pre-determined levels that can be assessed in a validated way, even before trainees first set foot in the operating room, simulation should be used for hands-on parts of the comprehensive curriculum.
Team Training and Continuous Education
However, simulation is not only for residents or fellows, but also benefits the more experienced physicians and other members of the lab team. It is an ideal way to easily get a quick refresher of a type of procedure that is not performed very often, or to learn new procedures or techniques within a hospital Change of Practice program. The objective is to provide learners of all experience levels with a training opportunity that emulates the actual lab setting, yet at the same time removes unnecessary patient risk.
Change of Practice
For ongoing Change of Practice initiatives, simulation is an effective tool for the incorporation, monitoring and evaluation phases of such efforts, both to create awareness of new methods to be used and to implement and audit key areas of practice change. Using a medical simulator facilitates getting the team to work together as a unit and fosters multidisciplinary approaches.
Simulation in Medical Training
Simulators allow physicians and teams to practice in a learner focused environment without the risks associated with training on a real patient. Working on a simulator also offers many additional advantages compared to apprenticeship training, such as gaining experience with a broad range of pathologies within a short timeframe, complication management, isolation of specific procedural tasks and the use of added visualisation for augmented comprehension and immediate objective feedback. Learners can repeat techniques, steps and cases they find challenging as many times as needed and in full confidence.
Other advantages of training with a Mentice simulator include:
- A way of compensating for the reduction in effective training hours that results from stricter working time regulations for medical residents
- A cost effective alternative to animal training, with more realistic representations of actual human anatomy4
- Free from the risks of radiation exposure when working in a real catheterization lab
- Optimizes lab time by making sure residents are well prepared when entering the lab
- Allows the physician and residents to discuss teaching points freely, and avoids any patient anxiety that may result from overhearing such discussions
- Can easily be used in a classroom setup when a larger number of students or whole teams of healthcare professionals need training
Integration in Hospital Processes
Initiatives to minimize medical errors are an integral part of a hospital’s Total Quality Management (TQM) process. A systematic learning and education program impacts medical outcomes (such as door-to-balloon time, radiation exposure, communication skills, use of advanced devices and new procedures) and productivity (like procedure times and effective use of equipment and devices). Hospitals with medical simulation programs have documented a significant reduction in clinical error rates.5,6
Mentice’s high-fidelity simulators provide practical and effective training delivery and assessment. Our staged training modules cover most endovascular specialties and the full range of learner experience levels. For more information about our simulators and training modules, please download our company catalogue or contact us.