Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center research to improve patient safety

New Orleans 17 November 2006Sheila W. Chauvin, M.Ed., Ph.D., Director of the Office of Medical Education Research and Development at Lousiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center (HSC) in New Orleans, has been awarded a half million dollar grant to evaluate the influence of simulation on enhancing teamwork and a culture of patient safety in the operating room environment. The project was funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Chauvin's project takes interdisciplinary team training to the actual hospital leaders and staff to enhance teamwork and patient safety in the surgical setting.


"This project builds upon our previous developments in the Isidore J. Cohn, Jr. Student Learning Center targeting teaching and assessment with high fidelity patient simulation", noted Dr. Chauvin. "Specifically, we will be evaluating a highly innovative training model that combines realistic mannequin-based simulation and patient scenarios and a mobile mock operating room with interdisciplinary teams at their own hospital site. Dr. John Paige, Assistant Professor of Surgery, and Dr. Valeriy Kozmenko, Assistant Professor of Anaesthesiology, have contributed substantially to this innovative training model. Based on our review of the field, our LSUHSC team appears to be the first to accomplish this unique combination of teamwork and patient safety training strategies."

The Institute of Medicine estimated that medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death among Americans. Medical simulation involves scenarios in which real-life medical situations are re-created so that health care providers can practise new procedures and techniques before performing them on patients and potentially placing them at risk.

"Equally important, this project will focus on examining the process of change and improvement and how the transfer of training to everyday practice is influenced by individual and organisational features within the actual hospital setting", stated Dr. Chauvin. "By focusing on both the process and outcomes of training effectiveness, there will be potential for making sense of how successful and long-lasting change can be achieved."

The Isidore Cohn, Jr. Learning Center was located on the first floor of a building on LSU Health Sciences Center at New Orleans' campus. This new-era education and training facility was lost to the flooding following Hurricane Katrina. The LSU Medical Alumni Association is working with corporate partners and seeking donors to rebuild the uniquely configured and expanded Center.

As LSU Health Sciences Center at New Orleans rebuilds its nationally recognized virtual learning centre, it is using software developed by LSUHSC physicians that significantly improves the realism and the teaching capability of the METI human patient simulators. These next-generation simulators are already in use teaching LSUHSC medical students and residents.

Through its innovative use of technology, development of improvements to that technology, and unparalleled training initiative, LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans' School of Medicine is recovering its position as a national leader in virtual medical education and patient safety training.

Leslie Versweyveld

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