The American Board of Medical Specialties requires all the disciplines to complete a Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement (PPAI) program. Physician anesthesiologists require a realistic setting because they often care for patients in complex cases, and simulation allows them to experience and reflect on their performance during crisis situations when patient care is most critical.
In 2010, the American Society of Anesthesiologists(ASA) had introduced a mannequin-based simulation program to satisfy the American Board of Anesthesiology requirements for Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA). A study published in the online first edition of 'Anesthesiology', the official medical journal of ASA has revealed that an overwhelming majority of physician anesthesiologists who participated in the simulation program successfully implemented their practice improvements.
Researchers studied simulation course data from January 2010 to December 2012. 634 participants were part of the study. The course participants listed at least three practice improvement plans they would implement after the course, such as enhancing communication among care team members, improving care transitions of medically complex cases and adopting useful cognitive aids such as checklists. After the completion of the course, participants were contacted on a monthly basis to report the completion level of their improvement plans. The researchers found that, after participating in the simulation program and making a commitment to change, 94% of physician anesthesiologists implemented practice improvements at least one improvement plan within three months after the course, and 79% reported implementing three or more practice improvements within the same period.
Randolph H. Steadman, M.D., M.S., professor and vice chair, Department of Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said, "The participants' acceptance rate of the simulation program was extremely encouraging. Many physician anesthesiologists went above and beyond expectations, using the opportunity to improve their knowledge, enhance their work environment and implement teamwork skills. Simulation experiences encourage active learning and motivate personal and team improvement. Further research on this topic can help us further refine the program."