Simucase is an innovative educational platform that allows speech-language pathology, audiology, occupational therapy and physical therapy learners to evaluate and treat a library of virtual patients. This personalized learning platform is designed to help learners succeed by offering a means to observe, assess, diagnose and provide intervention for virtual patients through interactive clinical simulations and repeated practice. Founded in 2000, the resource uses the latest in healthcare simulation technology to simultaneously encourage critical thinking and facilitate alternative clinical education in a no-risk learning environment, increasing patient safety.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Simucase helps learners master the specific clinical skills necessary to meet and evaluate clinical competencies and practice interprofessional collaboration. Within the platform, the patient video library includes more than 850 engaging video clips that cover valuable topic areas in speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and audiology. The library of virtual patients has been expertly designed to measure skills and enhance clinical competency.
If selected, learners can test their knowledge in “Interactive Mode,” where they will be periodically presented with questions about the subject matter. When a learner begins to assess a virtual client using Simucase tools, they will be presented with the opportunity to first interact with the virtual client or caregiver by selecting appropriate questions. Then they will be asked to consult with other professionals and family members, select questions and review reports.
Following these steps, the learner will record their hypothesis and document an action plan. Next, they will administer age-appropriate standardized and non-standardized tests and procedures. Lastly, they will select a diagnosis and recommendation. The learner will then receive a score based on the appropriateness of their decisions.
“In an effort to restructure a largely attended and work-intensive diagnostic seminar, my colleagues and I reviewed Simucase. Within minutes of the introductory preview session, we quickly realized how practical and functional the program was. Simucase mirrored our diagnostic clinical format, breaking down each critical step of the diagnostic experience, simplifying the process, while providing specific, important, feedback to the novice intern. It’s the perfect simulation for the speech-language student,” said Melissa Kern Fitzgerald, MA/CCC-SLP, of Hofstra University.
Simucase currently offers over 100 clinical simulations with virtual patients. Before selecting a desired healthcare simulation, Simucase provides a brief explanation of the case and an estimate of how long the case will take to complete. Cases typically take between 40 and 75 minutes to complete. Learners can also filter cases based on profession, simulation, topic areas, ages, locations and release dates.
Example of a Simucase occupational therapy case: Tim is a 43-year-old who presents with left elbow pain. The learner is the occupational therapy practitioner assigned to complete Tim’s occupational profile today. The virtual patient Tim- Part Task Trainer (OT) will interact with the learner through their web browser over the internet.
Example of a Simucase physical therapy case: Molly is a 63-year-old admitted to the hospital one week ago due to an exacerbation of congestive heart failure. The learner is the physical therapist assigned to complete Molly’s evaluation today. The virtual patient Molly-Assessment (PT) will interact with the learner through their web browser over the internet.
Example of a Simucase audiology case: Sherman is an 82-year-old male who was referred to your practice by his primary care physician for a vestibular assessment due to worsening balance and several near-falls over the past six months. The learner is the audiologist assigned to complete his evaluation. The virtual patient Sherman-Assessment (AuD) will interact with the learner through their web browser over the internet.
Example of a Simucase speech-language pathology case: Wyatt is a five-year-old with a diagnosis of congenital cytomegalovirus infection and resultant bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, communication and speech impairment. He was recently reevaluated. The learner is the speech-language pathology practitioner assigned to provide Wyatt’s intervention session in an outpatient setting. The virtual patient Wyatt- Intervention (SLP) will interact with the learner through their web browser over the internet.
Simucase videos are meant to provide examples of various patient cases and what certain conditions or disorders look like. For example, there are videos available on aphasia, articulation, phonology, cognition and cultural linguistic diversity. Other topics covered by Simucase videos include early intervention, health literacy, hearing loss, motor speech, physical agent modalities, sensory processing and more.
Simucase Company History
Simucase was founded by Chief Executive Officer Stacy L. Williams, PhD, CHSE. Williams is an adjunct associate professor at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in the Communication Sciences Department in Cleveland, Ohio. She is also an OSLHA fellow of the association and a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator. Her ongoing research focuses on integrating clinical simulation technology into the field of speech-language pathology by providing clients and professionals with online learning applications.
In 2004, Williams founded and directed the Virtual Immersion Center for Simulation Research at CWRU. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, she earned her doctorate degree at the University of Cincinnati and has worked in the SLP field for over 15 years.
“Every day I get to do what I love – develop innovative online technology applications for the allied health professions that provide a valuable service and resource to clinicians across the world. I’m proud to be a part of that innovation and to work with such talented people,” said Williams.
In addition to Williams, the Simucase team now consists of an editor-in-chief, vice president, education specialist, development manager, developer, editors and more. Together, they work to advance audiology, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy simulation across medical education and training environments to produce high quality healthcare professionals. Learn more on the Simucase website or read these articles below.
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