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Identifying Medical Mistakes in a Simulated Hospital Room: Transition from a Live to a Virtual Interprofessional Activity

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At West Virginia University, health professions students participate in a year-long interprofessional education (IPE) program focused on the IPEC competencies. For teamwork, students participate in a “Mistake Room” - a hospital room that intentionally contains medical errors and room hazards. Students first individually determine mistakes present, and then work as a team to more fully identify errors present. The goal is for students to understand the importance of all team members in minimizing medical errors and improving patient safety. Prior to 2021, students completed the activity in person in simulated hospital rooms. When the university moved to remote instruction, the activity was converted to a virtual experience. This project compares student perceptions of ability to function as a member of a team in an in-person versus a virtual session. A description of how the virtual experience was created is also included.

This 2020 IPE session involved student teams identifying multiple mistakes in-person, in a simulated hospital room. In 2021, a 360 degree virtual hospital room with similar errors was created on SeekBeak with embedded photos, allowing students to virtually tour and enlarge specific areas of the room. Students completed pre- and post-surveys, rating their ability to perform various tasks (1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree) related to roles, communication, integration of knowledge, and team performance. Student teams from 11 programs completed the 2020 session (n = 541) and students from 12 programs completed the 2021l session (n = 602).

In 2020, 400 and 381 students completed the pre-survey and post-survey, respectively. In 2021, 554 and 455 students completed them. On the pre-test, 2021 cohort students rated themselves statistically significantly lower on five of 11 measures compared to 2020. On the post-test, there were no differences in students’ perception from 2020 and 2021 across measures, except for “perform effectively on teams and in different team roles in a variety of settings” (4.49 in 2020 vs 4.60 in 2021, p=0.04).

The gain in perception of ability was larger in the 2021 cohort, with students generally rating themselves less able to perform on the pre-test, but similarly on the post-test. This session was effective in both the live and virtual environments in meeting the core competency of teamwork.

Lessons Learned:
The activity was easier to manage in a virtual setting. Students could be given more time to navigate the virtual room, and more complex errors could be incorporated.