Simulation in various forms has become an accepted form of medical education, especially for those techniques needed for surgical procedures. It's obviously safer to practice on a mannequin than a real person. But one Stanford physician, surgeon James Lau, MD, was struck by a distinct absence of similar practice techniques for pre-surgical decision-making - those questions whose answers help a doctor decide whether to conduct a surgery. In fact, Lau knew, the only time a doctor is tested on those non-surgical skills is during the board certification process that takes places years into actual practice.
With the help of a grant designed to nurture innovative approaches to medical education, Lau collaborated with a Stanford medical student and a third-year Stanford surgical resident to build upon and expand the technology behind last year's Stanford CME hit, Septris, a web-based game designed to teach doctors how to better identify and treat sepsis. The new game, SICKO (Surgical Improvement of Clinical Knowledge Ops), aims to duplicate what doctors face every day: the pressure of time and multiple patients.
But, to Lau's goal of improving patient safety, none of SICKO's patients are real - and practice might make perfect. I explain more in an Inside Stanford Medicine story today.
Previously: A conversation about digital literacy in medical education, The data deluge: A report from Stanford Medicine magazine and Can battling sepsis in a game improve the odds for material world wins?
Image from Zak Akin