ARLINGTON - The U.S.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded nearly $1 million to
researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing,
Baylor Health Care System and The University of Texas at Dallas to study how
physicians and nurses can improve their communication skills by participating
in engaging, video game-like simulations.
The project is
a collaboration among the three organizations aimed at increasing patient
safety by providing a safe, virtual environment for physicians and nurses to
learn to communicate effectively and efficiently through role-playing. Health
care providers will experience real-world situations and react in the virtual
setting, similar to advanced computer games. They can then build more effective
interpersonal communication skills by receiving feedback and putting what
they’ve learned into practice.
like the high-fidelity manikins at UT Arlington’s Smart Hospital™ have made it
possible for students to acquire and test their skills in a realistic
environment where it is safe to make a mistake and learn from it,” said Beth
Mancini, associate dean of UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and principal
investigator for the study. “The development of serious gaming systems
takes that capability to a new level and has the potential to transform health
studies have shown that communication problems in health care sometimes leads
to serious, even deadly, medical mistakes, researchers said. The Joint Commission, the national organization that accredits and certifies health care
organizations, has identified communication among caregivers as a key
National Patient Safety Goal.
“Being able to
effectively communicate things like a concerning change in a patient’s condition
to those who need to know is the cornerstone of safe care,” said Dr. Don
Kennerly, chief patient safety officer for Baylor. “Poor communication can lead to
misunderstanding that can cause medication errors or a missed opportunity when
a patient’s condition deteriorates.”
award is a three-year grant. Mancini, who was recently elected president of the
Society for Simulation in Healthcare, will coordinate the project. She will
provide health care expertise along with Yan Xiao, director of Patient Safety
Research at Baylor and a frequently published researcher in the areas of
patient safety and health care communication.
Zielke, assistant professor of arts and technology and associate director of
research for the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering at The University of Texas at Dallas will construct the
prototype game. A pioneer in serious gaming, Zielke has already completed
award-winning gaming projects to provide cultural training for U.S. soldiers
serving in the Middle East and to educate nurses caring for pediatric
flexibility of serious games to help professionals learn in an engaging
environment under their own timeframe makes this format especially useful to
health care organizations,” Zielke said. “The subject of effective
communications practices among professionals is perfectly suited for the type
of behaviorally focused games we are interested in at UT Dallas. We will be
able to apply much of our research on virtual humans and synthetic societies to
new game will focus on surgeons and nurses caring for post-operative patients.
The researchers plan to recruit 120 nurses and 25 physicians on the Baylor
medical staff to take part.
kind of gaming can really be engaging and allows learners to sharpen their
skills through repetition. With this project, Baylor’s caregivers will explore
gaming technology’s mind boggling potential to improve patient safety,” Xiao
and Zielke hope to collaborate in the future on other projects that explore how
interactive, life-like virtual environments can be used to improve health care
of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,800
students in the heart of North Texas. The UT Arlington College of Nursing is one of the
country’s six largest nursing schools with an enrollment of 6,330 and is home
to the nation’s first Smart Hospital™, a full-scale simulated hospital for
education and research. For more information, visit www.uta.edu.
Care System is a not-for-profit, faith-based supporting organization providing
services to a network of acute care hospitals and related health care entities
that provide patient care, medical education, research and community
service. Baylor recorded more than 2.6 million patient encounters, $3.8
billion in total operating revenue, $4.4 billion in total assets and $513.5
million in community benefit in fiscal year 2010. Baylor’s network of
more than 260 access points includes 26 owned/operated/ ventured/affiliated
hospitals, 23 joint ventured ambulatory surgical centers, 50
satellite outpatient locations, four senior centers and 156 HealthTexas
of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas
in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations
known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 17,000 students. The
school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state
universities in terms of average SAT scores. The University offers a
broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.
For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the University’s
website at www.utdallas.edu.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.