How Multi-Modal Integration Can Help Simulation Centers Adapt To An Evolving Operational Environment

Oct 26, 2020 7:43:53 AM · 2 min read

Whether it’s pandemic-driven closures/reopenings or the result of shifting institutional priorities, or increasing class sizes, simulation programs need to find new ways to deliver educational value across a wide range of dynamic challenges. In this brief article, we are going to share some first principles based recommendations on how to make your center better prepared for such environmental changes.

1, Sim centers need to develop the ability to deliver simulation experiences across several simulation modalities.

“Modality (n): A term used to refer to the type(s) of simulation being used as part of the simulation activity, for example, task trainers, manikin-based, standardized/simulated patients, computer-based, virtual reality, and hybrid (SSH).”

Leading simulation centers realized a long time ago, the days of the single-modality simulation programs were numbered. Isolated manikin-only sim centers, task trainer labs on the other side of campus, and detached SP programs are rapidly disappearing. The benefits of managing all simulation modalities under one roof are well established, but mostly center around organizational and logistical reasons. The potential educational benefits of integration are much less developed.

2, Integrating learner experiences across various simulation modalities as opposed to siloing these modalities​ will not only result in better experiences for learners but also enhance operational robustness for the sim centers.

This is not the “traditional” hybridization approach of different modalities complementing each other with different educational goals, but rather using multiple modalities to deliver identical or similar simulation scenarios, adjusting the frequency and accessibility of each depending on the previously mentioned dynamic circumstances. For example, a cardiac arrest scenario designed for both manikins and digital patients, with both modalities delivering similar key educational messages. This enables your learners to benefit from both experiences in the combination possible given the then-current resource and operational constraints. Manikin-based simulation when sim centers are open, possibly following screen-based preparation, or practicing with digital patients only when in-person access is not available – all delivering the same key educational concepts.

When the time comes to shift the focus across modalities or to rapidly scale up a certain modality, centers with an established cross-modality strategy are able to respond better, faster and with fewer distributions to educational activities.

What are the key elements of a Cross-Modality Strategy?

  • Best practices, synergies and shared efficiencies for developing simulation content as well as delivering simulation experiences.
  • Managing local expertise across modalities and avoiding siloing simulation experts.

A few examples of these principles in action. If you have a great SP case authoring team, identify the tools and techniques needed to leverage them in screen-based scenarios authoring as well. Evaluate the benefits of creating identical or mostly identical scenarios across multiple modalities. What if learners could experience a COPD case not only with an SP, but also using manikins and screen-based virtual patients, with slightly adjusted and expanded to match the strengths of each particular modality? This might sound like a lot of extra work and duplicate effort, but on one hand much of that work would be done when experiences need to shift from one modality to another and on the other hand, new multi-modal simulation platform can help minimize the extra work needed for ​simulation content portability.​

Please ​contact us​ if you would like to chat about how to establish and justify a better cross-modality strategy for your simulation center.

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