Ineffective inter-professional communication is a leading contributor to preventable patient harm. The Joint Commission has identified communication errors as the leading contributor to adverse outcomes. Consensus on the critical role of communication in patient safety is evidenced by Joint Commission's national patient safety goal, "to improve the effectiveness of communication among care providers." Despite a recognized need to understand professional, cultural, and personal differences that impact communication between the two disciplines, physicians and nurses traditionally receive little if any direct experiential training in communicating effectively with each other. Traditional methods for teaching communication skills and changing behaviors are often time consuming and frequently ineffective-especially when dealing with physicians. In the health care setting, simulation efforts typically involve the use of task trainers, mannequins, and standardized patients. As such, while proving increasingly effective, training with these simulation methods can be logistically difficult and costly. Building on our research team's work in the military and healthcare sectors, this application seeks to develop and evaluate a "serious" game that improves the communication skills of practicing physicians and nurses The game will be constructed to allow healthcare providers to appreciate the impact of ineffective inter-professional communication while experimenting with and learning more effective communication skills and behaviors through practice and feedback. At present, there is limited data that reflects on the benefit of using serious gaming environments to impact inter-professional skills and behaviors. Through an iterative development and evaluation process, this development and dissemination project will apply existing gaming knowledge and technology to a new setting - healthcare. The result of this work will also inform future research initiatives using gaming environments in other healthcare related situations and with other healthcare professionals.
Ineffective communication is a leading contributor to preventable patient harm. This project builds on our prior work in education of health providers, creating effective communication strategies in acute care facilities, and in military application of gaming strategies. We propose developing a serious game for physicians and nurses to appreciate the impact of ineffective interpersonal, inter-professional communication while experimenting with and learning more effective communication skills through practice and feedback.
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