Medical Device Use Errors
Advances in medicine and technology have given the healthcare community several vital tools that improve patient care. However, a consequence of this progress is that healthcare has become an increasingly complex and device-heavy discipline. Without proper training and practice, slow-downs in care and errors can occur. As such, simulation-based learning should incorporate the use of real equipment.
A 2015 Harris Poll of 526 registered nurses showed that not understanding how to use medical equipment properly leads to costly errors. For example, the poll found that errors commonly occur when transcribing information from one machine to another. Transcription errors can cause the patient to receive the incorrect medication or the wrong dosage.
Moreover, healthcare providers work slower when they are unfamiliar with a device or piece of equipment. They might have to sacrifice time with patients as they learn how to use the equipment in real-time. Likewise, providers who are familiar with the equipment might have to take time away from their own patients to help coworkers use a device.
Nonetheless, studies have shown that patient deaths and medical errors associated with healthcare equipment decline when protocols are created that assist in error reduction. Simulation-based training is already used by some hospitals to test and improve clinical skills and patient safety protocols.
Why Use Real Equipment During Simulation Sessions
A World Health Organization report on simulation in nursing and midwifery education supports the use of real equipment during simulation because “they enhance the realism of the scenario, allow for the acquisition of more accurate psychomotor skills, and improves students’ self-confidence for future clinical practice.”
Simulation sessions create opportunities for participants to apply what they have learned in the classroom and work hands-on to provide care. Learning is never passive during a simulation learning event as participants are forced to think critically, make decisions, and delegate tasks as they would during a real medical event.
It would follow, then, that participants should provide care using the same equipment they would use in the real world. Using real equipment in healthcare simulation provides realism and enhances relevance for the learner.
If the scenario calls for the patient to be intubated, then the participants should use a real laryngoscope and tube to perform the procedure. Using these tools helps participants gain experience performing actions like positioning the patient’s head for proper visualisation and accurate tube placement.
The Benefits of Using Real Equipment During Training
Hospital executives could use simulation to review existing safety protocols involving hospital equipment or even test, train, and implement new protocols. For example, when a patient is connected to multiple IVs, the lines can become tangled and cause them to drip at the wrong rate if they are not physically checked from source to destination.
Thus, a simulated scenario involving an Intravenous (IV) can have the provider check the lines before they leave the room. Familiarity and repetition are keys to learning new skills, so adding this step to ongoing safety protocol practice will ingrain this process in the thinking of the staff and ensure this error is not repeated.
Moreover, as the equipment is updated or redesigned over time, a once familiar device can become difficult to use. Simulation sessions involving the device can help providers keep pace with evolving technology and become deft users.
Educators can assess each staff member’s level of competency with equipment during the sessions. Thus, they can determine when to end training and ensure that each staff member gets enough practice before they are sent to work with real patients.
Medical technology will continue to advance and improve healthcare. However, access to new equipment and devices alone will not prevent errors. Without training to teach healthcare providers how to use new technology properly, mistakes can be made as staff struggle to use equipment with which they are unfamiliar.
Therefore, healthcare professionals need to practise using the equipment before they provide care for patients. By using real equipment during simulation learning events, providers gain experience working with the equipment and using it as intended.
The time spent training helps providers identify potential errors and change behaviours so they can deliver the best care possible.
To learn more about Gaumard simulation solutions, visit our page at bmec.asia/my/gaumard
- Gaumard Scientific | www.gaumard.com/blog/the-importance-of-using-real-equipment-during-simulation-sessions
- Martins, Jose Carlos Amado, et al. “Simulation in Nursing and Midwifery Education.” World Health Organization, 2018