February 27, 2023By Erin Carn Bennett

How OPENPediatrics Virtual Simulators Benefit Clinical Simulation Programs

OPENPediatrics is a multifaceted, multimodal open-access website comprising educational resources from the best pediatric healthcare professionals across the world. The primary goal of the website is for all clinicians worldwide to be able to use these resources to increase their confidence and knowledge in caring for sick children. This can be accomplished through online learning that includes modalities such as virtual clinical simulators. There is something for everyone on OPENPediatrics. This HealthySimulation.com article shares how OPENPediatrics virtual simulators can benefit clinical simulation programs and learners.

The platform OPENPediatrics breaks down barriers and allows immediate and free access to life-saving clinical knowledge in any time zone. Although of particular interest to those in low-resource settings; this healthcare simulation platform has applications for any medical worker involved in pediatrics in all settings.

OPENPediatrics shares stories of hospitals in places such as Yemen having rooms full of ventilators; children dying of respiratory illnesses. When local health professionals attempted to use these confusing pieces of equipment the outcomes for patients were even worse. In these moments, the true magic of the OPENPediatrics platform becomes clear.

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OPENPediatrics has a multitude of learning modalities including published articles, instructional videos, online courses, podcasts, medical calculators, collaborative channels for users, and virtual simulators. Not only has the platform been utilized in places such as Yemen, but every country worldwide has employed OPENPediatrics to accelerate their confidence and competence in pediatric care. Proving this expansive use, the website is now translated into multiple languages and is actively expanding this function as its reach continues to grow.

The virtual clinical simulators on OPENPediatrics include mechanical ventilation (for pediatric, adult, and Covid-19 patients), hemodialysis, and peritoneal dialysis. Virtual clinical simulators are another platform highlight due to their interactivity and fun nature.

Virtual clinical simulators have transformed learning and increased life-saving opportunities globally in pediatric settings. The OPENPediatrics virtual clinical simulators have been developed by expert interdisciplinary teams that include a multitude of backgrounds such as medical education, animation/illustration, and technology experts. These experts combine the latest research in adult learning and serious gaming to ensure the application of knowledge in the virtual simulator environment is translatable to clinical practice for users.

Also of note, the virtual clinical simulators have three sections that increase their challenges as the user becomes more familiar with the learning modality and equipment. First, The “Knowledge Guide” introduces the fundamentals of the equipment within each virtual simulator environment. Examples of these include the alarm setting and observation parameters which are dependent on the patient’s clinical conditions.

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The “Tactics” section teaches the learner a systematic approach to assessing patients and managing different clinical presentations with increasing complexity. Then, the “Cases” section allows users to apply their learning from the previous sections by caring for virtual patients while promoting the application of mastered principles in realistic patient scenarios.

“Mechanical ventilation and hemodialysis are theories that are difficult to understand and apply in clinical practice. The exercises and patient case studies [in the OPENPediatrics simulators] are very similar to those in real life. In order to minimize risks and make swift decisions, you must learn and practice with these types of simulators before facing real-life situations. It’s very important,” shared Navli Deveci, 4th-year intern, MD, of Dokuz Eylul University Pediatrics.

OPENPediatrics Research

To date, several research studies have been completed that demonstrate the outcomes of learning through OPENPediatrics. In one research study by OPENPediatrics, 483 residents in 33 ICUs across eight countries were assessed. Residents learned the same amount of knowledge from using the simulator for five and a half hours as they did after spending four weeks on a pediatric ICU rotation. Further, those residents that used the simulator retained more knowledge at two months as compared to those who rotated in the pediatric ICU.

Additionally, the residents who were primed with mechanical ventilation knowledge by using the simulator before rather than after their ICU rotation were reported to have learned double the amount of ventilation knowledge by the end of the study. Thus, there is no doubt that OPENPediatrics is an incredibly beneficial online learning modality to anyone of any level of practice or geographical location. The real question then becomes, how soon will all healthcare simulation programs incorporate OPENPediatrics into their training programs to ensure they and their colleagues can also take advantage of this incredible platform?

More About OPENPediatrics

With over 100,000 registered users,169,000 YouTube subscribers, 18 million video downloads, more than 500,000 sound cloud listens, and use by 138 countries a month currently; the value in OPENPediatrics is clear. The central imparting message of the OPENPediatrics team’s “why” is infused throughout everything that they do on the platform.

“Knowledge is power, shared knowledge is transformational” is a key message shared on the platform. Knowing the emotive back story and the powerful driving “why” behind the story of OPENPediatrics makes the incredible resource even more outstanding and increases the desire to get on board and be supportive to share their story.

The shared collective goal of OPENPediatrics is to share knowledge broadly, and increase clinicians’ confidence and knowledge to then save more children’s lives. Listening to Jeffrey Burns and Traci Wolbrink from Boston Children’s Hospital speak about why they felt compelled to create OPENPediatrics on the website’s promotional videos is a moving experience. Their passion and dedication to impart their wisdom of safe pediatric critical care to any health professional with an internet connection are beyond admirable and palpable.

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  • Wolbrink TA, van Schaik SM, Turner DA, et al. Online Learning and Residents’ Acquisition of Mechanical Ventilation Knowledge: Sequencing Matters. Crit Care Med. 2020;48(1):e1-e8. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000004071

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